The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) has welcomed the official launch of the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN), which aims to make the state a leader in advanced textile manufacturing.

Launched this week at the Slater Mill Museum in Pawtucket, RITIN fosters collaboration among textile industry leaders, designers, academia and government as part of its goal to develop solutions to recruit and train the sector’s future workforce.

At the launch, RITIN unveiled its new website and held an expo featuring local manufacturers. The activities dovetailed with NCTO’s We Make Amazing campaign promoting the US textile industry, namely that Rhode Island’s textile industry is involved in research, development, design, and manufacturing of an array of end products and providing career opportunities with on-the-job training and advancement.

“Rhode Island companies make some of the world’s most amazing textiles and are an important cog in the US textile and apparel supply chain, especially with respect to innovating and manufacturing textiles used by America’s military,” said NCTO president and CEO Auggie Tantillo. 

“Thanks to e-commerce and other emerging technologies, the global textile and apparel sector is experiencing an era of rapid change. Rhode Island is to be commended for being proactive in helping to ensure that its industry remains at the forefront in leveraging those changes to America’s benefit.”

Created in late 2016 by US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and the University of Rhode Island Business Engagement Center, RITIN operates with planning grants received in late 2017 from Real Jobs RI and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. Polaris MEP, an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) provides RITIN’s programme management.

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