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Congressman Randy Hultgren

Representing the 14th District of ILLINOIS

Hultgren, STEM Scholars Inspired at Digital Manufacturing Institute in Chicago

Feb 14, 2017
Press Release
Students Engaged in Hands-On Activities at State-of-the-Art Facility

Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) and the 2016 class of inaugural STEM Scholars held their fourth meeting at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) – UI Labs in Chicago to engage in hands-on activities illuminating the careers available in this growing field. DMDII, a research and development organization, encourages factories across America to deploy digital manufacturing and design technologies so that factories can be more efficient and cost competitive. DMDII works with partners in industry, academia, the non-profit sector and government by sponsoring research projects in digital manufacturing and design to help educate the workforce of tomorrow.

STEM Scholar P.J. Stephens practices his digital manufacturing skills on facility equipment
(STEM Scholar P.J. Stephens practices his digital manufacturing skills on facility equipment)

“Visiting the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute with our STEM Scholars was exciting and inspiring. We saw first-hand how government, industry and academia are needed to link arms in developing the next groundbreaking tools, techniques and minds to thrive in a 21st century global economy,” said Rep. Hultgren. “Our Scholars had an opportunity to see the ways in which companies like Caterpillar, Rolls-Royce and Microsoft are collaborating together with dozens of universities in a regional hub to bring these ideas to market and keep making things in America. It was a great chance to show our Scholars the STEM skills that businesses need while giving them some hands-on learning on the shop floor. Their future is bright and I hope they realize how valuable they are making themselves by their dedication to solving problems and learning in our toughest fields.”

Rep. Hultgren with STEM Scholars and DMDII staff
(Rep. Hultgren with STEM Scholars and DMDII staff)

STEM Scholars learned:

  • Digital manufacturing is breaking outdated stereotypes. It is occurring in safer, cleaner, state-of-the art facilities.
  • Running digital simulations before production is saving time and money in the manufacturing process.
  • Minute surface digital fingerprinting allows manufacturers to keep track of parts in the field
  • Visual light guided assembly is helping to retrain the workforce and reduce errors in the assembly process.
  • Portable technology aids, such as tablets and live feeds, are used by technicians to repair equipment and verify services performed.

Rep. Hultgren, co-chair of the STEM Education Caucus, has supported the promotion of manufacturing, digital manufacturing partnerships and technical education through several pieces of legislation:

  • Cosponsored the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI), which creates a network of nationwide regional institutes, each specializing in the production of a unique technology, material or process relevant to advanced manufacturing. RAMI passed the House in the 113th Congress.
  • Introduced the Modernizing American Manufacturing Bonds Act (MAMBA) which modernizes the financial tools used by manufacturers in Illinois and nationwide to expand their businesses, invest in new equipment and hire more workers.
  • Cosponsored the American Renaissance in Manufacturing (ARM) Act, a legislative package aimed at reducing competitive disadvantages of American manufacturers who engage in the global marketplace.
  • Led effort to authorize and fund the U.S. Economic Development Association’s Regional Innovation Program which provides grants to industry-specific manufacturing clusters.
  • Voted for passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act which reauthorizes and updates career and technical education (CTE).