US Sen. Durbin, Chicago mayor laud federal grants for manufacturing labs in Ill., Mich.

CHICAGO – Illinois’ senior U.S. senator is lauding as revolutionary a White House initiative under which he says Chicago and Detroit will boost innovation in manufacturing and create jobs.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was to join Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday in publicly discussing the creation of two manufacturing institutes. The Detroit-area institute will focus on lightweight metals, while the Chicago hub will push innovation in digital manufacturing and design.

President Barack Obama is to announce the initiative Tuesday.

The institutes are being seeded by $70 million each from the Department of Defence, plus more than $70 million each from non-government sources.

Durbin announced Saturday the Department of Defence awarded the grant to UI Labs, a partnership between public and private groups, including universities and manufacturers.