WASHINGTON - Governor Pat Quinn today joined President Barack Obama to formally announce that Illinois had won a new digital manufacturing hub, supported by funding from state and federal governments and corporate partners. The hub will have a far-reaching impact on jobs across many industries and benefit small businesses across the nation. The White House announced a $70 million Department of Defense award for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation (DMDI) Institute, which UI Labs will operate in Chicago. The support from President Obama, coupled with $16 million from the Quinn Administration, gives the institute the necessary funds to build partnerships with manufacturers and strengthen Illinois' economic comeback.
"Illinois is at the forefront of a high-tech manufacturing revolution that will make our state the center of high-tech job creation,” Governor Quinn said. "This first-of-its-kind digital hub will make companies more competitive and stronger by providing them with the most cutting edge tools and technologies. It will be the birthplace for innovations that will change the world in which we live, work and play."
Earlier support from the Quinn Administration was essential to the launch of DMDI. In March 2013, Governor Quinn approved the investment of $60 million in Blue Waters at the University of Illinois, which provides the supercomputing power for this initiative. Blue Waters is the core of the DMDI, the key engine to generate new design, simulation and testing innovations. Blue Waters set Illinois’ application apart from the other contenders for DMDI.
The Governor personally petitioned the Secretary of Defense twice and made the case to key White House officials about the benefits and importance of DMDI. The Governor brought key private sector partners into the initiative, including CAT, Deere & Company, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and many more.
Last December, the Governor joined UI Labs in announcing $5 million in state funding to support the Illinois Manufacturing Lab, a key first step in DMDI’s development that helps small- to mid-sized manufacturers across the state.
Governor Quinn’s administration - working with UI Labs and World Business Chicago - assembled the broad support for DMDI and directed the application for federal funding. Both the state and city of Chicago are expected to have representation on the initiative’s governing board. The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC) – a member-driven not-for-profit that serves as the state’s technology advisor - also assisted with the proposal.
“We put together a powerful proposal that demonstrated DMDI’s value to the federal government and to job creation throughout a broad region of the country,” Adam Pollet, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said. “We're going to change the face of American manufacturing and we're proud that our strategic investment in a public university is what set our application apart.”
“The DMDI institute provides a strong platform to connect Illinois manufacturers with the newest digital tools and provide them the know-how to build things faster, better and cheaper than China and the rest of the world,” Mark Harris, president and CEO of the ISTC said. “The vision of Governor Quinn and his leadership in connecting Illinois’ world-class research, technology and manufacturing strengths around initiatives like the Illinois Manufacturing Lab were instrumental in positioning the state as the hub for this Presidential initiative.”
The $320 million DMDI, with $70 million funding from the Department of Defense and $250 million from other public and private partners, will apply the newest technologies to help manufacturers try and use new innovations in digital manufacturing and design, with an emphasis on defense manufacturers. This will mean better products, faster production and lower costs for U.S. manufacturers. The $16 million state investment in DMDI includes the launch of the Illinois Manufacturing Lab, additional equipment and workforce training, and providing Illinois companies with the assistance they need to utilize the DMDI. The DMDI was made possible by a strong partnership between state, federal and city officials.