Farmingdale, NY – Standing in the factory of Long Island based D’Addario & Company, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of strings for musical instruments as well as numerous other high-quality musical accessories, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) 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. Here on Long Island, nearly 17,000 manufacturing jobs were lost since 2001.
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, 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.”
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, and 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 contracts.
In 2008, D’Addario began a Make It Here program in response to the recession. At that time, D’Addario made about 85% of their product in the United States, but the remaining 15% was being made overseas. By partnering with local subcontractors, implementing Lean Manufacturing techniques, D’Addario was able to source some of their largest selling Asian-made products right here on Long Island. Today, 95% of D’Addario’s products are made in the United States.
“This legislation would make doing what we did over the last four years much easier for more manufacturing companies,” said Jim D’Addario, CEO and Chair of D’Addario & Company.
“In the past, several Long Island based injection molders that manufactured parts of our finished products had to make their tooling in China and then ship it here to be competitive; but with legislation like this we can bring that highly skilled work back to our shores and increase the availability and presence of American made products both here and abroad.”
“This bill is critical in highlighting the need to support US Manufacturing, and emphasizing the importance of jobs related to this industry,’ said Anne Shybunko-Moore, Chair of Hauppauge Industrial Association’s Manufacturing Committee. “Our skilled workforce in New York is our strongest asset, and we need to ensure that strategies are in place to build that future workforce, and build the products here to support them.”
New York organizations including the Long Island Forum for Technology and the Hauppauge Industrial Association support Gillibrand’s legislation. National groups such as AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, and the American Small Manufacturers’ Coalition also support the bill.
“The Long Island Forum for Technology, representing over 3,000 Long Island manufacturers wholly endorses the proposed Made in America Manufacturing Act being proposed by Senator Gillibrand. This Act establishes an effective framework around which private and public entities can collaborate to create regionally-significant, constructive Manufacturing Strategies, enhancing competitiveness and promoting job growth in our nation’s critical manufacturing sector,” said Bill Wahlig, Executive Director of the Long Island Forum for Technology.
“Senator Gillibrand’s proposal would create manufacturing jobs here on Long Island and lead to sustainable economic growth and thus the LIA supports this legislation, which will utilize competition and public-private partnerships to give businesses the tools they need to stay and thrive on Long Island and in New York,” said Kevin Law, CEO and President of the Long Island Association.
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.