Duckworth Celebrates Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute Anniversary, Continued DoD Funding
[CHICAGO, IL] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI-11), UI Labs CEO Caralynn Collens and Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) Executive Director Chandra Brown to celebrate the five-year anniversary of UI Labs’ initial cooperative agreement to launch DMDII and announce continued funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Duckworth and Durbin supported funding for the new cooperative agreement in the Fiscal Year 2019 DoD appropriations bill. In 2013, Duckworth also supported the UI Labs proposal to establish DMDII in Illinois. Photos from today’s event are available here.
“As a Veteran, I’m especially thankful that DMDII is working to get our troops the equipment they need more quickly and more consistently, knowing that that could be the difference between life and death for a hero in harm’s way in Kabul or Baghdad,” Duckworth said. “I’m working with Senator Durbin to make sure DoD Manufacturing Innovation Institutes have ample funding, and I’m going to use my new perch on the Senate Armed Services Committee to keep advocating for the work that you do: work that strengthens both our economy and our national security.”
UI Labs is an applied research and commercialization collaborative headquartered in Chicago that manages DMDII for the DoD as part of the network of manufacturing institutes established under Manufacturing USA. DMDII officially opened in 2015 following their initial $70 million grant award from the Department of Defense combined with an additional $250 million in commitments from industry, university and civic partners. Since their opening, DMDII has won additional federal funding including $750,000 in seed funding from DoD to launch a Cyber Hub for Manufacturing in March 2018.
Duckworth’s remarks as prepared are below:
Hello everyone! Thank you Senator Durbin, and thank you to all the folks here at DMDII for making today possible.
Five years, congratulations!
We all knew this was a promising project when UI Labs approached us back in 2013, but no one could’ve predicted just how impactful it would be.
You’ve helped expand our economy and advance an entire industry... working to transform American manufacturing and place Illinois at the forefront of its digital revolution.
You’ve brought together some of the best minds from both the public and private sphere, showing what true collaboration between different parties looks like—something that Washington could use a lesson in!
You’ve helped ensure our military remains the strongest in the world, partnering with the Rock Island Arsenal to ensure the Army has the resources it needs if an emergency should strike… and helping the organic industrial base do the best job possible of preparing for the worst scenarios imaginable.
And as a Veteran, I’m especially thankful that you’re working to get our troops the equipment they need more quickly and more consistently… knowing that that could be the difference between life and death for a hero in harm’s way in Kabul or Baghdad.
Make no mistake: from the Arsenal to John Deere, you’re making a difference for everyone from our troops overseas to our farmers here in Illinois.
Not bad for being just five years old.
I’m so glad that DoD agrees, and I know you’ll keep changing this industry in the next five years as well.
Please know that you have a partner in me.
Last year, I pushed for an NDAA amendment that would’ve expanded the existing partnerships between DoD and groups like yours.
I’ve been working with Senator Durbin to make sure DOD Manufacturing Innovation Institutes have ample funding.
And I’m going to use my new perch on the Senate Armed Services Committee to keep advocating for the work that you do: work that strengthens both our economy and our national security. Our workforce and our military.
So thank you for keeping us on the cutting edge of new digital technologies.
For creating so many 21st century manufacturing jobs.
For helping ensure our military readiness.
And for bettering this state: one project, one partnership at a time.
Congratulations again on five years—and here’s to the next half-decade, too!
With that, I’d like to welcome our new governor, J.B. Pritzker.
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