Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another Venue to Share The Manufacturing Story

I'm attending the three-day Leadership Summit for the International Economic Development Council.

For me, it's another chance to share the good news manufacturing story that has become not just a good news story from Licking County but one for Ohio, the Midwest, and the nation.  I've been invited to moderate a dialog on manufacturing.  I'm greatly looking forward to it.

Three messages I hope to share:

- Joel Kotkin was right.  Two years ago, when close to no one was talking about beating China for GDP and the rebirth of U.S. manufacturing, there was a demographer and author writing about both.  Kotkin's February 2010 publishing of The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050 looks mighty prophetic now.  I'm hoping he's proven even more right as the years go forward too.

- Embrace manufacturing.  These two words may mean completely different things to different people in different parts of the country.  And that's OK.  The fact that President Obama, in his recent State of the Union address, mentioned manufacturing 15 times, 300% more than he had in all previous three years combined, is a pretty good example of embracing manufacturing.

In Licking County, this means two things.  Keep sharing the good news about manufacturing and the message that manufacturing is alive.  It also means to keep going with our national model STEM education efforts at The Works, our local science museum.  Part of preparing for our community for a rebirth of manufacturing is getting buy-in from parents and kids as early as preschool.  This is how we do it.

- Invest in skills training.  This blog has written about the importance of this for years.  I've cited the Ohio stat about the Class of '65 turning 65 in 2012 so often that I might be making some people sick of it.  However, Licking County is more prepared than most to absorb the loss of aging baby boomers from the workforce and that's part of why we are having less workforce issues than most. 

C-TEC's 79|Seventy Manufacturing Certification Program is a shining example of how to prepare a workforce with pre-employment training and pay for it in a way that doesn't break governments' budgets.

That's enough to share for three days.

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