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Immediate Release

Defense Department Invests $32 Million in Manufacturing Engineering Education Program

The Department of Defense, through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, has selected seven awardees for the Manufacturing Engineering Education Program. These distinguished educational and industry partners will receive more than $32 million over a three-year period to establish or expand educational opportunities for Americans to acquire manufacturing skills critical to sustaining the U.S. defense innovation base.

MEEP establishes programs that better position the current and next-generation manufacturing workforce to produce military systems and components that assure defense technological superiority.

“MEEP plays an important role in developing and maintaining the advanced manufacturing workforce our nation needs,” said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, director of Laboratories and Personnel in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. “Awardees include a program for middle schoolers as well as adult workforce retraining and projects focused on serving military veterans. These programs expand opportunities in cutting-edge manufacturing techniques such as additive manufacturing and robotics and strengthen important shop-floor skills like welding and machining.”

The seven awardees are:

  • Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), Knoxville, Tennessee: IACMI and its collaborators will establish a national learning network, based on the best-in-class program at Davis Technical College in Kaysville, Utah, to develop a skilled composites manufacturing workforce.
  • Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), Detroit, Michigan: This venture will expand Operation Next, a manufacturing-focused training and credentialing program for soldiers in their last six months of active duty, to nine new locations nationwide.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The initiative will develop a Virtual Manufacturing Lab that offers guided or autonomous online learning for three advanced manufacturing audiences: design engineers, fabrication engineers, and technicians.
  • Monroe Community College (MCC), Rochester, New York: MCC will enhance the nation’s optics workforce via improved curricula, apprenticeships and high school recruitment and outreach.
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Cleveland, Ohio: SME will develop an online, broad-based, advanced manufacturing curriculum delivered through Augmented  and Virtual Reality that aligns with industry-recognized credentials.
  • University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas: A consortium of partners will cultivate an educational ecosystem to draw young talent to additive manufacturing, smart manufacturing, and innovations in lightweight materials, structures and systems.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia: The school will create university and continuing education curricula to develop engineering talent for advanced manufacturing of structures and integration with lightweight composites for electromagnetic applications critical to U.S. military superiority.

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) is responsible for the research, development, and prototyping activities across the Department of Defense. OUSD(R&E) fosters technological dominance across the DoD enterprise to ensure the advantage of the American warfighter. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter:  @DoDCTO.