Guest blog post by Jay Williams, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development
Last week, I was honored to participate in Partnering for Illinois’ Economic Future Second Annual Economic Summit hosted by Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) in Rock Island, Illinois. This summit is the highlight of an initiative the Congresswoman launched in 2013 to foster economic collaboration in the 17th Congressional District of Illinois, and my keynote focused on the challenges and opportunities facing the American manufacturing sector, how we can prepare for success in the global economy, and what is being done at the federal level to help regions succeed.
* Manufacturing supports 17.4 million U.S. jobs.
* Manufacturing career opportunities include engineers, designers, machinists, and computer programmers.
* The annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000, which is approximately 17 percent more than similar workers employed in other sectors.
* For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, the sector creates $1.32 for the U.S. economy.
While some have been quick to write the obits for nearby manufacturing towns like Moline, and East Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, it was refreshing to see the close collaboration taking place locally to bring manufacturing back.
At the national level, we are working to support our manufacturers by supporting efforts to build the President’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), which is working to accelerate development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.
Two weeks ago, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker spoke of the need for passage of pending bipartisan legislation that would establish the network. NNMI is all about keeping America – our manufacturers, businesses, and economy – globally competitive. NNMI is focused on helping America lead the global economy; boosting local, regional, and state economies, and most importantly, create new growth industries, right here in America.