Until late April of this year, there was not a cross-disciplinary university initiative dedicated to studying U.S. manufacturing public policy issues and developing solutions relevant to the manufacturing sector. Though there are university cross-disciplinary initiatives dedicated to many other public policy issues, such as housing, tobacco, healthcare, and aging, there simply was not one focused on U.S. manufacturing. Yet the opportunities and problems of the manufacturing sector in the United States are deeply impacted by public policy issues, including international trade, tax, regulatory, energy, research & development, and education policy.

On April 14, Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) announced that it was launching a public policy initiative to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. The cross-disciplinary effort will study U.S. manufacturing policy issues and develop solutions. As SPEA Dean John Graham noted, the initiative will focus on three fundamental questions:

  1. Why has the United States lost much of its manufacturing base?
  2. What public policy and private-sector steps would buttress industry?
  3. Why are some areas of U.S. manufacturing thriving while others are declining? 

Many different academic disciplines come into play in formulating answers to these questions, and the breadth of expertise at Indiana University will be of great benefit in the initiative.

One of the first projects of the initiative will be a workshop in Indianapolis on October 29, 2015. Entitled "U.S. Manufacturing and Public Policy, Roadmap to the Future," the workshop will include the following panels: (1)Education and Manufacturing: Is There a Skills Gap and How Do We Fill It?; (2) International Trade and Manufacturing: Can We Build Consensus?; (3) An Entrepreneurial Model to Create and Revive Manufacturing; (4) Energy Policy and Manufacturing Revival; and (5) Challenges to Manufacturing in the United States: Tax and Overregulation. To receive more information about the Workshop or to be added to the mailing list for the initiative, please contact Karrie Zuccarello at klz@indiana.edu