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Advanced Manufacturing Will Drive U.S. Economic Engine

Although advanced manufacturing is ready to surge ahead, it needs 600,000 qualified workers to do so.

Summer 2012
(page 2 of 2)
Collaboration Is the Key to Success
Effective collaboration between government, industry, and schools is essential for advanced manufacturing success.

"We have created the resources in Florida to retain and attract advanced manufacturing by convening academics, industry leaders, and economic and work force development personnel," says Roe. "Without a funded entity to pull these disparate entities together and break down the silos, we could not have created the systems we have in place now."

The Banner Center for Advanced Manufacturing has created a talent development system that links high school career academies, technical school certificate programs, registered apprenticeships, community and state college degree programs, and entry-level/incumbent worker training with national industry certifications for advanced manufacturing.

"This initiative only worked because industry, colleges, Workforce and Economic Development [task force], and regional manufacturing associations collaborated to change the system and create industry relevant programs and pathways," says Roe. "A critical linkage was the creation of statewide articulation to college credit for industry certifications. This allows a learner (either in a school, on the job, or in the work force system) to gain college credit for the attainment of national industry certifications."

"The key to securing advanced manufacturing jobs is being able to provide the necessary education and training for a quality work force," agrees Jay C. Moon, president and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. "Mississippi is fortunate to have a strong community college system focused on providing students with relevant skills for the marketplace. Many of the work force training programs at these colleges reach out to local manufacturers to determine the work force needs in the area."

Both Nissan and Toyota have shown their commitment to supporting Mississippi's educational system (and creating a talented work force they can tap) through scholarships and programs with local schools. Several years ago PACCAR, a manufacturer of premium commercial vehicles, built an engine-manufacturing facility in Columbus. It quickly established a relationship with Mississippi State University and donated $2 million to its engineering department.

In Texas, the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research & Education Initiative (NAAMREI) is in the process of developing a world-class advanced manufacturing cluster in the McAllen area. NAAMREI is using the expertise of more than 60 partners in business, education, economic development, industry, finance, and government to attract manufacturers to its region. Key partners include three universities and four community colleges with advanced manufacturing courses. The partnership has invested in a variety of applied research, development, and demonstration programs and services through University of Texas-Pan American's Rapid Response Manufacturing Center.

These efforts are starting to pay off - in the past two years six North American corporate headquarters have been established in the McAllen-Reynosa area. Plans are now under way to construct a research and education park on 400 acres near the McAllen Foreign-Trade Zone.

At the national level, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) will unite a broad cross-section of major U.S. manufacturers and top engineering universities to brainstorm advanced manufacturing solutions. The AMP will be led by Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical, and Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. AMP will work closely with the White House's National Economic Council's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"Through success in manufacturing, the U.S. can generate meaningful long-term employment in key industries and the support positions that accompany them - every new manufacturing job on average creates five additional jobs," states Liveris. "By recovering U.S. manufacturing leadership, the U.S. can also maintain and grow its role as the world's innovation engine. Success at R&D and, in turn, the production of new ideas as products go hand in hand - they can't be separated. A vibrant manufacturing sector is essential to our competitiveness in cutting-edge technology," Liveris concludes.

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