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Manufacturing Takes a Starring Role in President Obama's Sixth State of the Union Address
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
Last night, President Obama delivered the sixth State of the Union address of his presidency on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. And the manufacturing sector took a starring role.
Here are some highlights of the manufacturing-focused portions of the speech -
First, President Obama opened his speech by recounting some successes of recent years and crediting the American people. "Here are the results of your efforts," he said. Third on the list - "A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s." In addition, he said, "for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is."
"That’s why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America," he said. "After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth."
Secondly, a little while into the speech, Obama returned to manufacturing saying, "We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs." He noted that his administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing and announced the intended launch of six more this year. He also explained that bipartisan bills already in both houses could increase the number of hubs and the number of jobs created. "Get those bills to my desk," he demanded of Congress, "and put more Americans back to work."
As a side note, several articles published in recent days counted up Obama's promises in last year's SOTU and scored his accomplishments. Many (including The Washington Post) noted last year's promise to launch three "manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Department of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.” Further, the president asked Congress to "help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution of manufacturing is made right here in America."
Looking at the text of Obama's speech last night, we can see that only two hubs have yet been opened, but that bipartisan support exists to open more.
Finally, President Obama also used last night's speech to discuss the importance of developing a workforce with the necessary skills to compete in today's manufacturing sector. Obama said that he has asked Vice President Biden to "lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now." Specifically, Obama said, training programs should offer "more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life." Importantly, he said companies need to be connected to community colleges which "can help design training to fill their specific needs."
We were pleased to see manufacturing take center stage during last night's speech and hope the trend will continue into 2014.
You can read the full text President Obama's speech or watch a video on the White House website.
Think globally, act locally. – Paul McCartney…except when to do so causes more harm than good. – Kelly Barner
As consumers of goods and services, we are constantly bombarded with feel good messages about the companies we buy from. Green production, sustainability, and local sourcing: it is easy to take for granted that these programs are in everyone’s best interests. After all, why wouldn’t we want the companies we patronize to keep the bigger picture in mind and take every opportunity to do a little bit of good in the process of making a profit?
Business to business operations have to take a different kind of approach to such initiatives as their immediate customers are usually more motivated by efficiency and innovation than socially-oriented programs. Procurement and purchasing professionals play a unique role in B2B local sourcing; we have to outline the pros and cons and help the rest of the company decide when these programs are advantageous for all parties involved and when the…
President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and outgoing Mexican President Pena Nieto signed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina this morning. The USMCA is intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that has been in force since 1994. Today’s signing is an important step towards adoption of the USMCA, but much work remains to be done by all three governments before it is fully adopted and implemented.
Unfortunately, the USMCA did not resolve the issue of 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. In November, PMA joined a coalition of 34 business groups in urging US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to remove the steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico once the USMCA was signed. In the letter, the groups stated:
"[T]he continuation of these tariffs with respect to Mexico and Canada will create impediments to Congressional passage of the USMCA implementing bill given concerns exp…
It’s been nearly nine months since the Trump Administration announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, and U.S. manufacturers are still struggling to remain competitive in a global market. In a Wall Street Journal article titled “Trump Tariffs Pit Auto Companies Against Each Other,” reporters Chester Dawson and Mike Colias spoke with PMA member Clips & Clamps Industries. The article states:
This summer, Jeff Aznavorian, president of Clips & Clamps Industries, a small Detroit-area parts maker with about 57 employees, sent one-page letters to about 15 customers proposing a cost-sharing arrangement for future contracts. Clips & Clamps was on pace to turn a profit this year, but rising materials costs have wiped out its margin. Two customers agreed. A few politely declined. One buyer from Canada wrote back, expressing sympathy. “They basically said: ‘I’m sorry your government is doing this to you, but what do you expect me to do about it?’” Mr. Aznavorian said.