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Readout of Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank’s Trip to Missouri to Highlight American Manufacturing, Insourcing and Exports to Create Jobs

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This week, Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank traveled to three cities in Missouri to highlight President Obama’s commitment to support manufacturing, to promote U.S. exports, and to encourage American businesses to bring jobs back or to expand operations in America—also known as insourcing. During her visit to Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis, Acting Secretary Blank met with local business leaders to hear about their successes and challenges, and outline how President Obama and the Administration are working to create even more jobs and support an economy built to last.

Yesterday, Acting Secretary Blank began her trip in Kansas City by touring the A. Zahner Company, a fourth-generation family-owned engineering and fabrication company, best known for craftsmanship in metal and glass. After the tour, she joined the company’s President and CEO, L. William Zahner III, as well as Kansas City Mayor Sly James, and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. Acting Secretary Blank emphasized that under President Obama’s leadership, the U.S. private sector has now seen 28 straight months of job growth - or 4.4 million new jobs. In the last two years alone, the U.S. has seen the strongest growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990s.  Though there is still more work to be done, she noted that Missouri has gained nearly 9,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2010.

Also while in Kansas City, Acting Secretary Blank toured an Industrial Training Center at Johnson County Community College and a business leaders roundtable hosted by the World Trade Center of Kansas City and Bleach & Veatch. The workforce training program at Johnson is a joint effort with BNSF Railroad and provides a model for how industry can work with community colleges to meet their needs and remain competitive.  Acting Secretary Blank talked with local leaders about the importance of President Obama’s proposal to give companies a tax credit for moving operations back to the United States, which would be paid for by eliminating deductions for expenses associated with moving operations overseas. 

Later, in Columbia, Acting Secretary Blank visited Environmental Dynamics International, a recipient of the Department of Commerce Presidential “E” Award for Excellence in Exporting. EDI specializes in research and development for wastewater treatment and related technologies. Acting Secretary Blank toured the facilities alongside EDI’s President and CEO, Randy Chann.

This morning, Acting Secretary Blank traveled to St. Louis, where she attended a roundtable breakfast with business owners from a range of industries hosted by Helix Center Biotech Incubator, an innovation facility owned and operated by the St. Louis County Economic Council. She was joined by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charley Dooley.

Acting Secretary Blank wrapped up her trip this afternoon with a visit to Wilco Molding, Inc. a third-generation family-owned custom plastic injection molder as well as a tool and mold machine shop. There, Dr. Blank was joined by Wilco’s President, Kim Williams, along with Denny Coleman, President & CEO of St. Louis County Economic Council, and Tom Dustman, Director of International Sales for Sunnen Products. Acting Secretary Blank discussed the importance of building on America’s insourcing trend by bringing more jobs back to states like Missouri. She also highlighted President Obama’s plan, released today, to extend the middle class tax cuts for families making under $250,000. In Missouri, this would help approximately 2.1 million families by preventing a tax increase of about $2,200 for the typical family of four.

During her visits to Missouri manufacturers, Acting Secretary Blank discussed Administration efforts to create good jobs by investing in American manufacturing. The President continues to press Congress to pass legislation that rewards businesses who hire American workers and eliminates tax incentives for companies to ship jobs overseas. The Commerce Department also continues to support the resurgence of American manufacturing and ongoing efforts to provide U.S. companies with the tools and resources they need to sell their products and services in the global marketplace.