Buffalo, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins today marked National Manufacturing Day as they cut the ribbon at the opening of the New Additive Manufacturing Lab and discussed new legislation to boost advanced manufacturing.
The new Additive Manufacturing Lab will enable high school students to learn about STEM and advanced manufacturing. The lab is equipped with individual workstations featuring laptops and LulzBot Mini 3-D printers for each student. Classes at the new lab will be held every other week and class sessions will be structured as a combination of lectures and lab time. Students will also be able to experience how companies are integrating this technology into their manufacturing processes.
Friday is National Manufacturing Day, a celebration of modern manufacturing intended to inspire young Americans to learn STEM skills and pursue careers in advanced manufacturing.
“As we mark National Manufacturing Day, today is an opportunity to encourage young people across New York to learn about the science and technology that goes into advanced manufacturing,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “If we want our economy to thrive we need to boost manufacturing throughout our state and grow our skilled workforce. I’m pushing for new legislation that will support local entrepreneurs and small businesses in expanding their manufacturing operations, as well as help more New Yorkers learn the skills and gain the experience with state of-the-art technology they need for advance manufacturing careers.”
Gillibrand is pushing for three new pieces of legislation to boost manufacturing and workforce development:
The Manufacturing Universities Act of 2015 – S.771, a bipartisan bill that would designate 25 universities as ‘Manufacturing Universities’ and provide schools incentives to better align their educational offerings with the needs of modern manufacturers.
The legislation will provide qualifying universities grants of $5 million per year, for a four-year period, that will help universities enhance their engineering programs to emphasize manufacturing skills, incentivize partnerships with local manufacturers, increase internship and cooperative education opportunities for students, and help more recent graduates launch new manufacturing businesses.
Manufacturing contributes $1.8 trillion to the American economy annually and manufacturing jobs pay more, contribute more jobs to the local service economy, and the sector has a higher multiplier effect than any other. Yet many manufacturers are unable to fill open positions because prospective employees do not have the requisite training. According to a 2014 New York Federal Reserve report, more than 30 percent of New York manufacturers said it was difficult to retain skilled workers, which had increased from 24 percent the previous year and 22 percent two years prior. According to a State University of New York (SUNY) Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) careers, which include jobs in manufacturing, are growing 2.5 times faster than other fields in New York. These jobs demand higher skills, as is proof by the fact that over 70% of the STEM workforce in New York State have at least a bachelor’s degree;
The Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act of 2015 – S.959, a bipartisan bill to create a $5,000 tax credit for employers that use apprenticeship programs to train workers in high-demand professions such as health care, manufacturing and technology. The bill also would allow veterans in apprenticeships to get credit for previous military training and experience, as well as incentivize mentoring of apprentices by senior employees.
Apprenticeship programs benefit both the employer and the employee, and 9 in 10 people who complete apprenticeships are employed, with apprenticeship completers having an average starting wage of over $50,000 a year and earning on average $300,000 more in lifetime wages than those with similar backgrounds who don’t according to a 2012 study by Mathematica Policy Research. There were 685 registered apprenticeship programs in New York State as of the end of Fiscal Year 2014 that provide training to more than 16,000 apprentices across the state in more than 130 fields ranging from electricians and machinists to counseling aides and school safety agents;
The Scale-Up Manufacturing Investment Company Act of 2015 – S.1934, a bill that would increase capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to scale-up and commercialize their advanced manufacturing and innovation operations.
American manufacturers support an estimated 17.6 million jobs in the United States and account for 12 percent of U.S. GDP. Manufacturing also has a higher multiplier effect than any other sector, meaning job creation in manufacturing has an increased impact on the local economy. At the same time, small businesses employ more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and have generated over 65 percent of net new jobs since 1995 and are hotbeds of innovation.
Yet many small businesses looking to expand their innovation and manufacturing operations cannot get access to the capital they need to do so. As a result of this lack of access to capital, many small innovative businesses that are beginning to succeed and need to expand their manufacturing operations in order to continue to grow are forced to move their ideas and jobs abroad to our international competitors who can provide the financing options these small businesses need to manufacture and commercialize their innovations. For example, a study of manufacturing technology-intensive start-ups licensed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that almost all that scaled up into commercial production did so overseas largely because of far more attractive capital and investment opportunities for manufacturing start-ups. The lack of access to capital not only forces small American business to move their innovations overseas, but it also means New York loses out on high-paying, high-skilled manufacturing jobs that are created when these small businesses expand and commercialize their products.
Gillibrand’s legislation would help these small businesses expand and create jobs here instead of overseas by giving them access to the capital they need to scale-up and commercialize their innovations. The bill creates a loan program that allows private investment firms to leverage funds provided by the government to help emerging manufacturers commercialize their products. The program, modeled on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC) program, would allow approved participating investment firms to raise capital that would then be invested into emerging manufacturers’ businesses. Any fees, interest, and profits received from the investments would be used to offset the cost of the program.