New England can reclaim its title as a manufacturing hub by working together to nurture the development of the advanced manufacturing industry. That's the conclusion of a new report being released Wednesday by the nonpartisan New England Council.
The new advanced manufacturing sector bears little resemblance to the shipyards and textile mills that dotted the region's landscape in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Instead, it requires more technologically savvy workers to produce highly precise, customized components with complex designs, including those needed in the defense, aerospace and biotechnology fields.
The report recommends the creation of a federally-funded advanced manufacturing center in New England. It also suggests rebranding the manufacturing industry to shift perception away from "dirty and dangerous to exciting and safe."
The report says the nurturing of the advanced manufacturing sector will also require coordination between government, schools, and industries to ensure there are enough skilled workers to fill the needed jobs.
More apprenticeship opportunities would help, the report says, to match students with open positions in the manufacturing industry.
From the report:
The region still maintains a sizeable advantage in advanced manufacturing GDP per capita compared to the rest of the country, but the gap is not quite as big as it used to be. Employment and GDP have both rebounded following the recession but recently have begun to stagnate. The obstacles are far from insurmountable; they are, however, very real.
For more information, read the New England Council report executive summary.
This report includes information from The Associated Press.