CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Four West Virginia operations will be part of a federal pilot program meant to strengthen the country's manufacturing sector, the Obama administration announced Thursday.
The federal government awarded $30 million for the program, which will focus on additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is often referred to as 3D printing and is a way of making products from a digital model.
"I'm pleased that we are taking steps to strengthen American manufacturing by launching a new manufacturing institute in Ohio," President Obama said in a written statement.
"This institute will help make sure that the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow take root not in places like China or India, but right here in the United States of America. That's how we'll put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts."
The National Additive Innovation Institute in Ohio will include 40 companies, colleges and nonprofit organizations in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Locally, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, FMW Composites Inc. In Bridgeport, Touchstone Research Laboratory in Triadelphia and the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown will be a part of the institute.
The institute is the first of 15 manufacturing institutes Obama's administration has plans to start as a part of its National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
As part of the institute, RCBI's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers in Huntington, South Charleston, Bridgeport and Rocket Center will expand their additive technology programs, though how much is unclear, said James E. Casto, associate director of public information for RCBI .
The exact amount of money RCBI and other West Virginia sites will receive has not been decided, Casto said.