New Jersey state legislators have renewed their mission to strengthen New Jersey manufacturing and help employers put New Jersians back to work by establishing the bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus. The Manufacturing Caucus’s first meeting was held in downtown Paterson, NJ on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
The Caucus is focused on enhancing the productivity, capacity, and competitiveness of New Jersey manufacturing. More than 12 state legislators are part of the Manufacturing Caucus.
Senator Gordon, Chairman of the Manufacturing Caucus opened the session. “Today in New Jersey we have over 10,000 firms engaged in increasingly advanced manufacturing that employ over 350,000 workers. The goal of this initiative is to help those businesses grow and succeed,’ stated Senator Gordon.” The Caucus will work on policies that include improving partnerships between education and manufacturing, research and development and job creation and retention. “NJMEP will be instrumental in helping to close the skills gap,” added Gordon.
John W. Kennedy, PhD, CEO of New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) presented on the importance of career pathways and noted that “we all need to come together to champion the necessity for a strong manufacturing sector in New Jersey.” New Jersey has more than a 200 year history of harnessing manufacturing to push the boundaries of science, technology and commerce,” adds Kennedy. NJMEP has been a strong advocate and partner of the Manufacturing Caucus and works closely with legislators across the state. NJMEP will aid in the recruitment and expansion of the talent pipeline, and help create new pathways and opportunities for countless residents to find stable and rewarding middle-class jobs
Manufacturers face several policy issues, which include taxation, regulation, workforce education, transportation, innovation and collaboration. The caucus is tasked to address these issues. Dr. Donald Sebastian, Ph.D., President & CEO, New Jersey Innovation Institute and NJMEP Board of Directors Founding and current Member also presented at the Caucus. “If we embrace change, the future of manufacturing will consist of Large OEM’s will reshore production fueled by a highly educated workforce, equipment, instrumentation and software companies will set up operations in NJ to be closer to their customers, transportation and logistics will grow to support the thriving industrial landscape, and manufacturing share of GDP will match AL, IN, KY, NC, and MI creating 250,000 direct jobs with a 64% wage premium and 1,000,000 indirect jobs,” states Dr. Sebastian.
The Manufacturing Caucus will host discussions with industry experts, aggregate and disseminate information, and meet frequently to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the New Jersey manufacturing sector.