An Open Letter to President Trump…America Makes Great Again
Dear President Trump,
Congratulations on your victory last November. It is great to see a businessman take over this office at such a critical time in regards to the Manufacturing & STEM Industries. We need change to move forward.
During my career I have owned and sold two successful businesses (both) based in New Jersey, but services and products were sold nationally and worldwide. One of the businesses was a Manufacturing firm and the other an Engineering services company which included projects that for the Federal Government. I know first-hand how difficult it is to run small and mid-sized entities, as taxes and regulations can negatively affect you on all levels.
However, when you look at the Manufacturing Sector, you can see that about 77% have 20 employees or less, but are creating amazing results. So, while it is always a plus reading about meetings with firms like GE, Lockheed Martin, J&J, United Technologies, and so many others being tapped for input…we cannot forget about the small & mid-sized firms (SME’s) that (also) maintain an incredible impact on our economy.
Mr. President, when I sold my last firm a few years back it was one of the saddest days of my life, yet the next step was exciting to me as well. Especially since that included joining the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), as it provided me with a pathway to supporting my home State and my chosen industry in a big way. NJMEP is one of 51 Centers in the US that holds a Cooperative Agreement with the US Department of Commerce / NIST-MEP and has 100% focus on Manufacturing & STEM during its 28-year history.
NJMEP has the ability to earn-down some Federal Funding, but the vast majority of our work is funded through the investment of individual SME’s, and even some NJ State financing for Workforce Development Programs, which makes it a true Public-Private Partnership and my experience tells me that this is a rare occurrence. The Federal Dollars generally go to support Workshops, Corporate Assessments to set viable baselines for Manufacturing companies, and to our Field Staff; who allow us to interact with the over 11,000 firms situated in our Great State.
Recently, in an article in The Hill written by Alexander Bolton I came across the wording that “Trump transition officials are looking at eliminating”, among others, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. I was stunned, thinking that anyone making that statement knew little of the program, and that it was far from the ‘Corporate Welfare’ terminology metered out by a few.
While so many of the Federal Programs (including DoD and many others) do provide incredible boosts to our larger entities…the ones directly supporting the SME’s, especially in the Manufacturing Industry are rare. The only one that I know of that actually provides viable and substantiated metrics and ROI (Return on Investment) is the MEP System; as each engagement with one of our customers is followed by a 3rd Party Survey that provides each Center with feedback and a performance scorecard.
Since the year 2000 in New Jersey…our metrics include:
- $2.41 Billion in Increased & Retained Sales
- $357 Million in Process Improvement Cost-Savings
- $547.7 Million in Capital Investments
- 27,849 in Jobs Created / Retained
And this is from a single MEP Center…when contemplating the program as a whole, the statistics since 1988 are that the MEP System has worked with 94,033 Manufacturers, leading to $98.7 Billion in sales, $17.1 Billion in cost savings, and created / retained 884,596 jobs.
That is ROI at its best from a valuable program.
The reality is that everyone in this program applauds and supports your efforts to date, and we stand ready to support you as the best industry resource available. As you well know, Manufacturing and STEM are the real drivers of our economy and our security as a nation, as 1 manufacturing job initiates (at least) 4 additional well paying, career based jobs.
Call on us at MEP…we’re ready to do more.
John W. Kennedy, Ph.D.