ALMII Choses Detroit

(DETROIT, MI) – The new $148 million lightweight metals manufacturing institute announced in February by President Obama will locate in the city of Detroit, officials from the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) and the city announced.

ALMMII is a public-private partnership led by Ohio-based manufacturing technology non-profit EWI, the University of Michigan, and The Ohio State University. The initiative is part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and is being led by the Department of Defence.

The institute, expected to open this fall, is charged with establishing a regional manufacturing ecosystem to move cutting-edge lightweight metals out of the research lab and into tomorrow’s cars, trucks, airplanes and ships for both the commercial and military sectors.

Mayor Mike Duggan said locating this new high tech hub in Detroit shows the city can compete for and win major manufacturing investments.

“To win a competitive process for a project of national significance is a major win for the city,” said Mayor Duggan, who added, “Detroiters should expect to see us win a lot more in the future.” 

The ALMMII facility will be located at 1400 Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit. The last tenant of the 107,000 square-foot properties was Mexican Industries, which made plastic mouldings for the auto industry until filing for bankruptcy in 2001.

Mayor Duggan also said having the institute located in the city will provide significant opportunity to Detroiters, who will be able to receive training through Focus: Hope and other regional partners for the high tech manufacturing jobs that will come as a result of getting these lightweight metals into production. 

“As processes are developed to use lightweight materials in manufacturing, Focus: HOPE will be right there developing job training programs to provide skilled workers who know how to use this technology,” said William F. Jones, Jr., CEO of Focus: HOPE.  “That’s our forte – providing excellence in job training and preparing our students for careers with a bright future.”

Operations at ALMMII will commence with an initial staff of ten. Eventually, two-dozen employees will be based in the Detroit facility. The building will house offices, meeting rooms, training space and laboratories for developing and testing technologies for manufacturing.

With 75 member organizations including companies, universities, research institutions, and education and workforce leaders as partners, the institute is expected to contribute to economic development and positive job impact in Detroit and stretching to the five-state region of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky over the next five years. Most of these jobs will be in the metal stamping, metalworking, machining and casting industries that are dominant in the Midwest region.

Beyond its R&D efforts, the institute aims to help educate the next generation of manufacturing’s technical workforce. ALMMII will engage workforce partners from across the region to strengthen education and training pathways to high quality jobs in all transportation manufacturing sectors, including the automobile, aircraft, heavy truck, ship, rail and defence industries. The White House has referred to the institute as a “teaching factory.”

“Detroit’s renewed energy and revitalization efforts mesh perfectly with the goals of ALMMII, making the city an ideal spot for its headquarters. This is an exciting next step in the university’s longstanding relationship with Detroit, at a time of great importance,” said University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel. “I look forward to seeing the innovations that will come out of the institute that will transform American manufacturing.”

“ALMMII represents the first of what I hope are many innovative regional collaborations among Ohio State, Michigan, EWI, and other key regional assets,” concurred OSU’s College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams. “When it comes to advanced manufacturing, workforce development, and U.S. competitiveness, we are all on the same team.”

ALMMII’s Detroit location puts it close to key workforce partners such as Focus: HOPE, Macomb Community College, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, and Wayne State Community College District, and Wayne State University. These entities will work closely with the institute’s workforce program on new manufacturing methods. The institute, in turn, will engage students in internships and technical work on its research projects.

The institute is one of four pilot centres of the NNMI, a Presidential initiative to boost the nation’s competitiveness. The new initiative, funded through the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) program, was selected through a competitive process led by the U.S. Department of Defence.

The institute will receive $70 million in federal funding over five years, matched by another $78 million from the consortium partners themselves. The funding includes $10 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and an additional $10 million from the state of Ohio. The New Economy Initiative, a Detroit-based non-profit, has committed $1 million over two years for capital expenses at the headquarters.

Larry Brown, ALMMII Executive Director said, “From this very central location on the I-75 corridor, and particularly in the heart of Detroit, the institute is poised for success in serving our nation in setting the standard for world-class lightweight metals manufacturing.”

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Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.