Yonkers, NY – Standing at POP Displays, a Yonkers manufacturer that produces plastic displays for major retailers and marketing companies, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), joined by Mayor Mike Spano, announced that the first piece of legislation she introduced in the 113th Congress is a federal funding competition that encourages states and regional public-private partnerships to design and implement comprehensive strategies that spur growth for local manufacturing industries and that train workers with the skills that businesses need.
New York State has been crippled by manufacturing employment loss, with over 123,000 manufacturing jobs lost since 2005. In the Hudson Valley, an estimated 11,530 manufacturing jobs were lost between 2005 and 2010, including more than 4,000 manufacturing jobs lost in Westchester.
To bolster more growth in New York manufacturing, Gillibrand’s bill, called the Made in America Manufacturing Act, would create a competitive program that awards states and regions with funding to support local manufacturers through low-interest loans to build new facilities and upgrade equipment, and access to capital and technical assistance to develop exporting opportunities and to connect innovative small suppliers with larger companies. Funding would also go towards job training and vocational education programs that partner businesses with colleges, local workforce centers and other skill providers to prepare workers for manufacturing jobs.
“It’s time to see ‘Made In America’ again starting right here in New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I believe New York’s great manufacturing communities are well positioned to compete for funding that would help carry out their innovative ideas to spark more growth in manufacturing sectors, jumpstart new businesses, and create good-paying jobs right here where we need them the most.”
“Manufacturing has always been the backbone of America’s economic strength and this legislation, proposed by Senator Gillibrand, will enhance our manufacturing preeminence,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “By creating partnerships of federal, state, local, and regional stakeholders, including education, we can improve the skills of our workers, enhance competitiveness by our industry, help our manufacturers retool for this century, and create a domestic and export market to bring prosperity to our country and its workers.”
“I’ve long believed New York to be a prime location as an American manufacturing home – creating thousands of jobs and training that will inject a boost to our local economy,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “I commend Senator Gillibrand for her leadership and vision with this legislation that will provide New Yorkers the opportunity to rebuild manufacturing in our communities.”
“The Made in America Manufacturing Act is exactly what is needed to revitalize our domestic manufacturing sector and enhance our global competitiveness,” said Mark Champagne, CEO of POP Displays. “POP Displays would appreciate being able to participate in the partnerships it would create with industry, government, and education.”
“The Business Council of Westchester congratulates Senator Gillibrand for introducing the Made in America Manufacturing Act,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “This groundbreaking legislation will not only help employers but will also concentrate on training our future workforce in the skills they will need to be competitively employed in the multi-faceted manufacturing industries in this country.”
Senator Gillibrand’s first piece of legislation introduced in the new Congress would award up to $20 million in competitive funding for each statewide or regional manufacturing hub.
The Made in America Manufacturing Act would allow localities to use funding to:
Set up a revolving loan fund to help manufacturing businesses expand or establish new manufacturing operations. According to a Commerce Department report, the lack of available capital to manufacturers has especially restricted the ability of many small manufacturers to grow and compete. Without equipment upgrades and expansions, New York’s manufacturing sector will continue to lose its competitive edge in the global economy.
In an effort to retool New York manufacturers to be more competitive and create new jobs, the revolving loan fund would provide manufacturers with direct access to low-interest loans that are below market rate to construct new facilities or to retool, retrofit or expand existing plants, including equipment, infrastructure or energy efficiency upgrades. The federal investment could also help leverage matching funds from the private sector and other non-federal sources.
Create job training programs to help address the skills gap faced by our manufacturers. By working with community colleges, vocational education programs and job training providers to tailor education and training programs to the skill needs of manufacturers, this program will focus on strategies that train workers for the jobs of the future, creating more good-paying manufacturing jobs right here in the U.S.
According to a 2011 survey by the Manufacturing Institute, more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs went unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers. A 2012 survey noted that one-third of small businesses struggled to recruit employees with the needed education and training. Gillibrand’s Made in America program would ensure federal funds are invested in job training partnerships to help directly meet the needs of local manufacturers.
Provide capital and technical assistance to boost exporting opportunities for manufacturers through supporting research and analysis of markets and countries with the greatest potential for expanding business as well as connecting innovative small manufacturers with larger companies as a supplier or to take advantage of government or private sector contracts.
New York organizations including the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC) and the Council of Industry support Gillibrand’s legislation. National groups such as AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, and the American Small Manufacturers’ Coalition also support the bill.
Under Gillibrand’s bill, successful applicants would be required to form a partnership board of key stakeholders including county and local governments, small and large manufacturers, labor organizations, higher education institutions, workforce training centers, and local chambers of commerce to pool state or regional resources and develop a strategy to expand opportunities for local manufacturing, spur job creation, and close the skills gap that has slowed the growth of many manufacturers.
The Commerce and Labor Departments will evaluate applicants’ plans, also known as Manufacturing Enhancement Strategies, based on how the strategy will improve U.S. competitiveness and the expected economic return on investment, including job creation, cost savings by manufacturers, private investment that federal funding would help leverage, and how the proposal would address high unemployment and mass layoffs. Priority would be given to proposals that commit private sector and state or local matching funds and contributions on a one-to-one basis. The Departments would then work with winning localities to implement their plans.
“The Made in America Manufacturing Act would add a welcome boost to Yonkers’ important manufacturing sector,” said Assemblymember Shelley Mayer. “We need federal partnerships like this to be sure we can grow good paying manufacturing jobs in Westchester. I applaud Senator Gillibrand and our partners here today for leading on this issue.”
“I applaud the Senators initiative encouraging U.S. manufacturing and bringing jobs that will produce American made products,” said Yonkers City Councilman Michael Sabatino. “It’s an important step to building the economy.”
“The Council of Industry commends Senator Gillibrand’s continued recognition of the important role manufacturing plays in our economy and we are pleased to support the Made in America Manufacturing Act,” said Harold King, Executive Vice President of the Council of Industry. “This Act, in conjunction with other initiatives such as renewing the R&D tax credit, will help our manufacturers compete in today’s global economy.”
“The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. wholeheartedly supports the Made In America Manufacturing Act of 2013,” said Mike Oates, President and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. “This country needs skilled labor and this bill establishes grant programs that provide much-needed support to American manufacturers, rewarding companies that have long-term strategies to increase their ranks of American workers through training programs, especially in regions suffering from high unemployment. This would be another valuable tool to help the Hudson Valley continue to grow and provide skilled workers to its local companies. We applaud Senator Gillibrand’s leadership and efforts to help New York companies grow.”
“The Made in America legislation will bring substantial assistance to areas in Westchester with high unemployment in the manner of funding and loans for small businesses in 21st century growth areas like green energy and new technologies in biological research and information systems,” said Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins, who represents Yonkers. “By jumpstarting on-the-job training for new workers with this funding, we’ll be able to help downsized workers and aid local economies. I truly appreciate Senator Gillibrand’s proactive leadership in this regard.”