Wilson Center Policy Brief Series: Manufacturing Matters, Strengthening America: Inventing the Future

The Wilson Center recently released two essays by Kent Hughes, Director of the Program on America and the Global Economy, in its series of policy briefs on critical issues which will run from now until Inauguration Day.
 

Manufacturing Matters

Manufacturing plays a key role in the U.S. economy and will continue to do so. The private sector provides roughly 70 percent of total U.S. spending on research and development, and the bulk of that amount comes from manufacturing enterprises. Manufacturing generates 90 percent of U.S. patents. It also is central to the system that translates laboratory research into commercial products, thus generating jobs and creating wealth. Manufacturing also constitutes the single most important export sector of the economy and is thus critical to America’s ability to pay its way in the international economy. Finally, manufacturing generates millions of jobs, which provide pay and benefits that exceed the national average. Looking ahead, the United States needs a manufacturing strategy that can support the emergence of advanced manufacturing processes that, in conjunction with low-cost energy, can revitalize the U.S. manufacturing sector.

>> Read the Policy Brief in its Entirety

Strengthening America: Inventing the Future

The U.S. innovation system has enormous strengths, including public and private support for research and development, the world’s best university system, and an entrepreneurial risk-taking culture. But those elements of the system now face several domestic and international challenges. In the United States, cuts in federal spending could reduce support for university research. The kindergarten through 12th grade (K–12) education system struggles to keep pace with the rising demands of the 21st-century workplace. Internationally, the United States now faces competition to attract or keep advanced manufacturing firms, research facilities, and top scientific talent. The United States will need to maintain support for research and development (R&D), improve its education system, and learn from best practices around the world.

>> Read the Policy Brief in its Entirety

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Making a Success of Every School

The Wilson Center and the Program on America and the Global Economy are proud to share a recently released publication on U.S. education reform:

Paul Vallas, distinguished scholar and noted education reformer, identifies the main challenges facing U.S. education in the 21st century.  He notes that US performance on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranks American 15 year olds as 17th in science and 25th in mathematics.  Vallas and others stress that American schools have not declined.  Rather it is a case of technology, a changing job market, and rising international competition demanding much more of America’s educational system.  Attracting and retaining top teachers is vitally important, but Vallas stresses that one cannot neglect early childhood education, school improvement-focused state and district governance, and a 21st century curriculum.

Click here to access the full report