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Let’s repeat: “American manufacturing isn’t dead.” October 12, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Workforce.
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Lisa Laughner of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) offered this rousing call to arms for the Hoosier State with regard to manufacturing. She summarizes both the promise and peril of our nation’s manufacturing economy in this excerpt:

The biggest problem with both manufacturing and logistics is the belief that they are simply yesterday’s news. Nothing could be further from the truth. In Central Indiana, more than 85 percent of our manufacturing operations are concentrated in areas slated for growth over the next five years. A recent study by the Indianapolis Private Industry Council projects a 20 percent increase in distribution and logistics jobs in our region over the same timeframe. And through the new CICP initiative, we’ll be working to take cutting-edge innovations from our universities and the private sector and translate them into exciting new business opportunities.

Last month, CICP co-hosted an Indiana Manufacturing Roundtable along with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Department of Workforce Development and Indiana Manufacturers Association. A group of nearly 100 manufacturing executives, university officials and economic developers engaged expert panelists (including special guest Assistant U.S. Secretary of Commerce Al Frink) in a discussion of work force, competitiveness and innovation policy.

A common thread through the conversation was the need to change perceptions and get more people involved in manufacturing careers; identifying and hiring applicants with the right skills was a top priority for many of the companies represented. A recent report by the Department of Workforce Development sums up the problem like this: “. . . the pipeline for jobs in advanced manufacturing and logistics is empty . . . (although) both industries offer thousands of jobs that pay well and are rewarding.”

This has to change. Indiana’s manufacturing and logistics sectors are well established and positioned for growth, and through our efforts I know we can accelerate innovation and job creation. But one of our initial tasks is still myth-busting. Attracting good people to manufacturing and logistics is a must — and we have to change minds before we change our economy.

Agreed. Without aggressive workforce marketing by manufacturers and logistics companies, these industries will see their respective workforces wither away. When will these industries embrace programs like the National Association of Manufacturers“Dream It, Do It” marketing campaign (currently used in a whopping 3 metro regions nationally, with 2 more to come online soon)…and does the logistics industry even have a similar program?

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