Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm used her keynote speech at a meeting of automotive industry executives and experts Aug. 6 to call for actions that will address the nation's dramatic loss of manufacturing jobs. Granholm vowed to enlist her fellow manufacturing governors in the fight to maintain the country's manufacturing industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio lost more than 106,000 manufacturing jobs between April 1998 and November 2002. "Manufacturing matters in Michigan and the United States," Granholm says. "We're not just creating products, we're building lives. Manufacturing jobs are largely responsible for creating the middle class across the country, providing opportunities for millions of families nationwide to participate in the American Dream. "The manufacturing industry itself is the backbone of our national economy and defense. We simply cannot allow our manufacturing nucleus to erode as it has so dramatically done in the past several years." Granholm offered a three-step plan for elevating the national discourse on maintaining manufacturing jobs in the United States. Granholm will:
- gather Michigan's manufacturing industry leaders to explore issues and solutions in a state-level meeting in the next several months;
- encourage the governors of the nation's other top manufacturing states to hold similar meetings in their states; and
- encourage those governors to gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss state and federal actions needed to sustain the nation's manufacturing industry.