Alabama today (Friday, Oct. 4) observes National Manufacturing Day in recognition of the importance of product and equipment manufacturing on the state’s economy and to create awareness of the need for skilled labor and available job opportunities in manufacturing.
Manufacturing accounted for $30 billion of the state’s $180 billion Gross Domestic Product in 2012, according to the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama. Of the state’s 2.014 million jobs in August, 249,200 were in manufacturing, according to the Department of Labor.
Governor Robert Bentley proclaimed today (Friday Oct. 4) as Manufacturing Day in Alabama to shine the spotlight on the significant economic sector. “Manufacturing Day is an opportunity to showcase manufacturing’s technology-driven, innovative environment in order to attract skilled workers and excite young people about pursuing a career in manufacturing,” Bentley’s proclamation stated.
Last year a consortium of like-minded interests including the National Association of Manufacturers created National Manufacturing Day to be observed on the first Friday in October.
The Business Council of Alabama is the state’s exclusive representative to the National Association of Manufacturers. One of the NMD co-sponsors is represented in Alabama by the Alabama Technology Network.
NMD is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public’s perception of American manufacturing by coordinating awareness-raising activities across the U.S. on Friday, the NAM said. Manufacturers plan to host students, teachers, parents, job seekers, and others to showcase modern manufacturing technology and the availability of careers.
The BCA created the Manufacturing Advocacy Council to help promote and enhance a positive business climate for Alabama manufacturers. The council is comprised of BCA members, its board of directors, and BCA’s regional advisory committee members who possess the experience, skill, and innate understanding of the manufacturing process.
BCA board of directors member Ronnie Boles, owner of General & Automotive Machine Shop in Huntsville, a MAC co-chairman, joined Bentley for the proclamation signing on Sept. 18. “Alabama continues to create high-wage, high growth manufacturing jobs,” Boles said Wednesday. “Products are recognized globally for their high quality.”
In the historic Capitol’s Old House Chamber, Governor Robert Bentley signs a proclamation designating Oct. 4 as Manufacturing Day in Alabama. The recognition is part of Alabama’s celebration of National Manufacturing Day. From left to right are: Brad James, Alabama Technology Network; Vickie Clark, Cummings Resources LLC; Blake Hardwich, Manufacture Alabama; Jada Freeman, ATN; Governor Bentley; Ronnie Boles, Business Council of Alabama and National Association of Manufacturers; state Rep. Todd Greeson, Northeast Alabama Community College; Abby Luker, Manufacture Alabama.
Boles attended last month’s Southern Governors’ Association meeting that was convened to encourage regional cooperation in attracting advanced manufacturing businesses.
“A main conference objective was to discuss challenges to southern states in attracting advanced manufacturing jobs, and to plot a regional strategy to become more attractive to advanced manufacturing companies,” Boles said in his report to MAC members.
“Economic developers in all states have the advanced manufacturing industry as their top target because these companies make the largest plant investments and pay the highest wages.”
The NAM said that one in six private-sector jobs in the U.S., an estimated 17.2 million, is a manufacturing job. Nearly 12 million Americans, 9 percent of the workforce, are employed directly in manufacturing, NAM said.
Here’s the rub: 600,000 manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled in the United States due to the lack of sufficient skilled employees. The average manufacturing worker makes $77,060 in pay and benefits, NAM said.
“Manufacturers in the United States are the most productive workers in the world, far surpassing the worker productivity of any other major manufacturing economy, leading to higher wages and living standards,” NAM said.