(Photo Credit: Daniel Foster)
Manufacturing in California is alive and well, but it’s not the kind of manufacturing of the olden days.
“It’s not grimy, manual labor. Manufacturing is much cleaner and very technical and should appeal to the current workforce and people in college because it’s very technical. One has to be familiar with the technology and the programming of the machines,” said John Anderson, Director of Programs at the California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC).
“Manufacturing is very much alive and very valuable in the state. But we need to do more to support it because it has that job multiplier. You see recent economic analysis says that it’s either three to eight jobs for every manufacturing job because it’s the support people.”
The first ever California Advanced Manufacturing Summit was recently held in Sacramento. CMTC played a big role.
“The transfer of the information to the manufacturers in the room, we had about 20 from Southern California, and speaking with them, they’re very interested in knowing what’s going on and see how they can apply it to their business. They know they have to innovate to survive,” said Anderson.
With much momentum, those who attended didn’t want the conversations to end, so many joined in on the collaboration work getting done by the California Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
“The whole goal is to go for a bigger state policy and state awareness on the value of manufacturing.”
According to the California Employment Development Department, in the Los Angeles region, there are about 360,000 manufacturing jobs. According to Anderson, that number used to be larger,but manufacturing jobs have decreased significantly over the last 10 years yet, “we are still the largest manufacturing area in the country.”
He believes President Obama’s new administration wide initiative, Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), will pump life back into the industry.
“The initiative will mobilize us to compete for those grant dollars. For the grant money, you need a collaboration and having this CNMI structure, with relationships with state universities and other manufacturing agencies, will help us because collaborations are what they are looking for,” said Anderson.
The IMCP is designed to award communities, in the U.S., that demonstrate best practices in attracting and expanding manufacturing by using long-term planning that integrates targeted investments in workforce training, infrastructure, research, and other key assets.
The plan is to competitively grant up to $4 million to 20-25 ready-to-go strategies to boost manufacturing in a region. The strategies that emphasize working with higher education and using public-private partnerships will get higher marks.
“California is a strong competitor because there are several benefits: It’s a great lifestyle state. We still have a very strong educational college system and there’s still a plethora of very smart entrepreneurial types here.”
“The benefits of the state of growing manufacturing job are plenty. Those high paying jobs pay higher taxes and bring more volume to the economy in the local area, so it’s nothing but a win for the state, but the state has to pay attention to it,” said Anderson.