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Commerce Secretary John Bryson Visits Manufacturers in Tennessee

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson traveled to Cleveland, Tennessee, where he visited the Whirlpool Corporation for a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new, one-million square foot manufacturing facility. The $200 million factory is the largest premium cooking product manufacturing and distribution facility in the world, exemplifying the Secretary’s mission to help U.S. business build it here and sell it everywhere. The opening of the facility marked 100 years of Whirlpool manufacturing Made-in-America products.

While in Tennessee, the Secretary also made a stop in Chattanooga to visit the Volkswagen manufacturing plant, which builds the 2012 Passat. Volkswagen recently announced that they were adding a third shift to the operation at their Chattanooga plant in response to increased consumer demand, which will create over 700 additional jobs. This development is just one more example of the continued resurgence of the American manufacturing industry.

In fact, today, the Economics and Statistics Administration highlighted data showing that automakers are contributing heavily to the success of American manufacturing. The report finds that auto sales are at the highest level since the first quarter of 2008.

America’s manufacturers are a key driver behind the millions of new jobs that the U.S. has added over the past two years. Data released last week revealed that America’s manufacturers added 37,000 jobs in March and 120,000 jobs in the first three months of this year. In fact, over the past 25 months, manufacturers have added a total of 466,000 jobs, the strongest growth for any 25-month period since September 1995.

Manufacturing is a top priority for Secretary Bryson, and the Commerce Department supports manufacturers in several ways, including through the recently created National Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Program Office, which brings together stakeholders and drives investments in advanced manufacturing.

Still, the U.S. is looking to manufacture even more great products within its borders. That’s why the Obama administration is rolling out plans for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), a one-billion-dollar proposal to bring local manufacturers together with students, researchers and other local leaders to work together to uncover the best ideas, and translate them to the marketplace. Commerce has a leading role in launching an NNMI pilot institute. As Secretary Bryson said in his remarks before Whirlpool employees, smart investments in innovative initiatives like NNMI are one way the U.S. is going to out-build, out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world in the 21st century.

Secretary Bryson also pointed out that in places like Cleveland, Tennessee, CEOs are recognizing the potential of American ingenuity. They see the R&D, the supply chains, the quality of American products and the talented workforce behind it–and there’s simply no comparison. American competitiveness and American innovation are full speed ahead.

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