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The United States manufacturing sector added jobs between 2010 and 2019, and this growth is expected to continue in the coming years. This represents a significant shift, as the sector had shipped millions of jobs overseas between 2000 and 2009.
These figures indicate that many businesses are planning to reshore manufacturing operations, and, in turn, states are looking for ways to advocate for manufacturing. With an eye toward future innovations, below are a few ways states can boost manufacturing operations.
1. Funding Businesses and Applications
While getting businesses up and running in a new location can be expensive, states can offset some of these costs.
To manage the financial burden, states can request tax benefits or exemptions. Additionally, state leaders can allocate funds to businesses, covering application and permitting fees, waving impact fees, or taking other actions to minimize a manufacturer’s start-up expenses. This is key to accelerating manufacturing innovation and digital transformation necessary for growth.
By taking a proactive approach, state leaders can attract major manufacturers and add hundreds of jobs to the state’s economy. The long-term economic benefits of bringing a major manufacturing company to the state will offset initial costs.
2. Recruiting Companies
In the coming years, multiple states will vie for the attention of top manufacturers as companies reshore. Instead of waiting for manufacturers to turn attention toward their state, state leaders can actively recruit companies interested in expanding existing operations or opening a new facility.
When state leaders make first contact, they have an opportunity to highlight why their jurisdiction is a good fit for the manufacturer’s facility, creating a sales pitch that outlines potential cost savings opportunities, the quality of the labor market, and other benefits that make the state an appealing option for the manufacturer.
3. Empowering Industry Experts to Shape Public Policy
Manufacturers care that industry experts have a hand in shaping public policy. When industry experts are involved in the creation of , manufacturers are more confident that their business will thrive in the short and long term. That's because these leaders often understand industry-wide challenges and opportunities.
This might mean making manufacturers the head of the policy-making table. For example, Connecticut created a chief manufacturing officer role to strengthen partnerships.
4. Compiling Data on the State’s Available Resources
State leaders can make a manufacturer’s search for a home base easier by researching the state’s available land, raw materials, and other resources.
For example, some manufacturers water access or prefer to be close to their customer base.
When manufacturers inquire about setting up shop in a particular state, legislators can quickly bring them up to speed on what resources are available to them. This allows the manufacturer to promptly determine whether the state is a good fit for their company’s needs.
5. Creating Worker Development Programs
All the incentives and resources in the world won’t draw in top manufacturers if they have concerns about sourcing labor.
To combat this, state leaders can work with municipal governments to create high school skills development programs and apprenticeships. Such programs can serve as a labor funnel for manufacturers while simultaneously equipping the next generation of workers with valuable skills that they can use to earn competitive wages.
From empowering industry experts to shape public policy to training the next generation of workers, getting a headstart on these initiatives as manufacturers increasingly reshore can help states advocate for manufacturing.
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