LIFT to open manufacturing innovation institute in Puerto Rico
LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense national manufacturing innovation institute, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Puerto Rico government to open a local branch of its operation to offer advanced applied research and development, as well as advanced manufacturing on the island.
During the signing of the MOU, in which Gov. Pedro Pierluisi and Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish) Secretary Manuel Cidre took part, it was confirmed that LIFT will engage with the island’s manufacturers to further develop their technologies and support the local workforce by providing next-generation manufacturing training opportunities.
As part of the agreement, the DDEC has committed $2 million to support LIFT Puerto Rico over the next two years and the institute has committed to $2 million of its own funds.
The institute is currently exploring locations for the facility.
This agreement follows the announcement earlier this month that the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program, overseen by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is committing funding to support the LIFT Puerto Rico satellite.
“Puerto Rico is known for its specialized workforce, and LIFT Puerto Rico brings world-class advanced manufacturing technology development capabilities to Puerto Rico and will provide a significant economic asset that will expand our competitiveness, manufacturing readiness, and workforce growth. We’re excited about this new partnership and look forward to its impact on our economy” said Pierluisi.
Meanwhile, LIFT CEO Nigel Francis, said “it’s incumbent upon us as a national manufacturing innovation institute, to support manufacturers and their workforce where they are and where we are able. We’re grateful to both the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce and the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program for their support of this LIFT initiative.”
Puerto Rico’s manufacturing sector represents nearly half of the island’s GDP and the development of its workforce “is essential to support those manufacturing operations and their personnel with the best skills that allow us to compete with the world,” said Cidre.
“This is collaboration with LIFT, is vital and extremely important because it will bring leadership, manufacturing expertise and its current 300-member ecosystem on the mainland to support the manufacturing base here,” he said.
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