Historically speaking, positive and lasting change is made only when we have an open and honest conversation. For the legislators and manufacturers of New Jersey, there was no better discussion to be a part of than the New Jersey Legislative Manufacturing Caucus roundtable. Unprecedented access and insight were offered from both sides of the table as manufacturers of products and creators of laws outlined their outlook on the future of our state, and NJMEP was proud to organize such a historic event.
Founded to promote the growth of New Jersey’s manufacturing industry, the Caucus has 12 active state legislators, each dedicated to the betterment of a centuries-old institution. For leading manufacturers, the immediate access to those in charge of their state’s laws offered incalculable benefits, and a chance for their voice to be heard. Talking points included:
- Workforce Development & Staffing for High-Skilled Employees
- Minimum Wage Increases
- Outmigration – Companies & People /Talent
- Taxes & Fees
- Regulatory Issues
Moderated by John W. Kennedy, Ph.D., CEO of New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), the topics were discussed openly between manufacturer and lawmaker. Chief among them, the widening skills gap between youth eager to become part of New Jersey’s proud tradition of manufacturing and those who feel a higher education is the only answer. Suggestions included a refocusing on vocational education and an increase in their viability. The primary concern being you can’t make an educated choice without all the options, and students experiencing a modern curriculum are not exposed to the vocational option.
Beyond ensuring a steady flow of young and eager talent into the industry, manufacturers discussed the proposed increase of the New Jersey minimum wage directly with their policy makers. This decision will have ripple effects reaching into every business and home in the state, and NJMEP made sure those in the industry had an opportunity to share how this policy could affect their futures.
Each proud New Jersey-based manufacturer in attendance had the chance to share views regarding the future of their business, and how changes could be implemented to keep them in the state they’ve come to call home. Outmigration is a real issue facing companies, today. New Jersey policies as identified by the attendees can often be difficult to overcome. New Jersey is a hardworking state, but the amount of taxes and fees a manufacturer is forced to shoulder is enough to force relocation.
To quote NJMEP’s CEO, John Kennedy, “This is an industry that builds people.” The New Jersey Legislative Manufacturing Caucus roundtable was proof the manufacturing industry is filled with those willing to put in the extra effort for a brighter and more productive tomorrow. NJMEP is honored to help facilitate such a momentous occasion, and with the upcoming State of the State, more good work regarding the future of New Jersey waits just over the horizon on April 4th and 6th.
NJMEP would like to personally thank all who attended the New Jersey Legislative Manufacturing Caucus for the input they brought to the roundtable. An additional thank you to the NJBIA, and senators Bob Gordon, Linda Greenstein, Declan O’Scanlon, Chris Emigholz, and Tony Bucco; As well as legislative and assembly members Benjie Wimberly, Andrew Zwicker, Anthony Bucco Jr, Constantina Meis, Mark Biedron, and Yvette Clark.