- SPECIAL REPORTS
…end the stereotype that manufacturing is non-existent in the United States.
Wouldn’t it be great to hear this pledge from some or all of the countless candidates running for positions in every level of government?
Sure, we hear tons of rhetoric about how they’re going to improve and grow the U.S. economy. But, unfortunately, I’ve never heard these people say very little about the good things going on in U.S. manufacturing.
Could it be they like to promote the stereotype that nothing is made here in America anymore, hoping this position will gain them some political points (i.e, my policies are the ones that revived manufacturing)?
I have no problem with candidates proposing ways to build on the good that’s taking place in manufacturing—but I have a big problem when they fail to give manufacturing its due as a positive force in the economic recovery of the past year or so.
Let me recommend five things these candidates should tell their hoped-for constituents when discussing U.S. manufacturing:
1—President Obama needs to appoint a new Manufacturing Czar ASAP. The most recent one, Ron Bloom, served from September 2009 to August 2011. During his tenure there, Bloom played a pivotal role in two events.
The first was the agreement reached between the U.S. automakers and federal government to significantly increase fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicle. Both sides agreed that these vehicles should reach 54.5 mpg by 2025.
More importantly, as least to this blogger, was Bloom’s role in the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. This initiative brings together industry, universities and the federal government so they invest in emerging technologies that will make U.S. manufacturers more competitive economically.
2—Manufacturing is a career option, with the right training. The “Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018” report says that nearly 2 million manufacturing workers will be needed between now and 2018 as older workers retire. And David R. Brousell of the Manufacturing Leadership Council, says studies indicate there are as many as 600,000 jobs in the U.S. manufacturing sector currently unfilled because of a skills problem.
3—Thousands of U.S. companies manufacture machinery. In February 2011, more than 1 million Americans were employed directly in manufacturing machinery. Not only that, U.S. machinery manufacturers tallied sales of $345.1 billion in 2010 and have added more than 54,000 jobs since January 2010.
4—Hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in U.S. manufacturing every week. For example, consider the Latest Headlines posted on the ASSEMBLY website Feb. 1-2. Stories posted on those two days reported that $350 million was being invested in plants operated by GM, Caterpillar and automotive supplier Continental—resulting in the creation of nearly 700 jobs.
During the two years I’ve been on the ASSEMBLY staff, I’ve come to realize that this kind of great news is the rule not the exception. Our fellow Americans need to know this.
5—The manufacturing sector is proactive. Every week I receive invitations to events that promote and improve manufacturing. Later this month, for example, I will be attending a three-day advanced manufacturing tour through the state of Virginia.
Other 2012 events that I’m very interested in are: the MFG (Manufacturing for Growth) Meeting from March 8-11 that will address Advancing American Manufacturing; and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers' RAPID Conference and Exposition, which will showcase the latest in 3D imaging, printing and additive manufacturing technologies.
Over the next nine months, Americans will cast ballots for candidates running for local, state and federal offices. It would be great if our fellow citizens heard some or all of the good news about U.S. manufacturing during that time.
I promise to do my part to inform the people in my inner circle of life about the importance of manufacturing in this country. I hope you’ll do the same—especially if you run for public office and end up getting elected.
Together let’s wipe out the negative stereotype about manufacturing in America.
Do I have your vote?