When it Comes to Public-Private Support of U.S. Manufacturing, We're 'Playing Catch-Up'

June 29, 2011
The idea of a national manufacturing strategy 'is hardly a radical concept.'

Scott Paul, the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), applauded the direction that the United States is taking with the newly created Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. The group will be led by top engineering universities and several major U.S. manufacturers.

Last week, President Obama also directed the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy to work with the new partnership to implement a number of the recommendations of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

"We are playing catch-up on initiatives where we have public-private partnerships to try and spur manufacturing," Scott said during an interview on C-SPAN. One particular area that is well-suited to joint efforts is in bringing new technology to the factory floor, Scott asserted. "That is a perfectly appropriate role for the government," Scott said. Other countries are currently involved in these efforts and the U.S. was as well during the 80s. "This will help keep good-paying advanced-manufacturing jobs in the U.S."

The group supports a national manufacturing strategy.

"The idea of a manufacturing strategy or industrial policy is hardly a radical concept," the group says. "Alexander Hamilton constructed Americas first industrial policy in 1791. Setbacks during the War of 1812 due to a lack of domestic capacity to build naval vessels and military equipment cemented the determination of the federal government to grow manufacturing, a policy that continued until the end of World War II. Today, globalization and such economic approaches as a strong dollar policy favoring domestic consumption have helped to steadily erode manufacturing as a percentage of gross domestic product, as well as private-sector employment and other key measures."

During the interview, he discussed the "Made in America" movement and other topics including the currency issue with China.

Watch the interview below.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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