The commonwealth’s top political leaders agree that manufacturing has a bright future in Massachusetts - and that’s great news for the state economy.
Governor Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg today joined a bipartisan group of business leaders, cabinet secretaries and legislators to kick off Manufacturing Month in Massachusetts from now through the end of October.
The event was organized by the Legislature's Manufacturing Caucus, chaired by Rep. John V. Fernandes, D-Milford, and Senator Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow.
The observance is intended to highlight the importance of the manufacturing sector; to encourage students and workers to consider manufacturing as a pathway to a successful career; and to recognize the world-class companies, maker spaces and startups that make up the manufacturing sector from Boston to the Berkshires.
For me, as the CEO of the state’s largest employer association, the sight of elected officials from both parties standing together at the State House to celebrate the 7,500 manufacturing establishments in Massachusetts was heartening. Some political leaders may dismiss manufacturing as a dying industry, or overlook it entirely in the pursuit of the “technology sector,” but there is a clear and unified view in Massachusetts that manufacturing and technology are part of the same equation for success in creating jobs.
More than 250,000 Massachusetts residents work in manufacturing businesses, which accounted for more than 10 percent of gross state product (GSP) - $45.06 billion - in 2013, the most recent year for which numbers are available. Manufacturing workers in Massachusetts earn an average pay of approximately $93,862 per year, among the highest in the country.
And manufacturers invest a far higher percentage of sales in research and development than non-manufacturing companies.
The six companies that took part in today’s ceremony underscore the diversity and promise of making things in Massachusetts – from biopharmaceutical leader and AIM member Biogen to clean-tech startup Greentown Labs, to Maybury Material Handling to grinding firm Boston Centerless to contract machining company Accurounds to another AIM member, officer furniture maker AIS.
The State House event is the first in a series of events scheduled throughout the month of October that will highlight best practices in workforce training, showcase programs that are available to employers and workers, and advance dialogue to address current work force challenges.
The observance will be broken up into five weeks, representing five regions of the state. AIM encourages manufacturers to participate in the celebration by hosting a tour, making a presentation at a local school, or attending one of the many events scheduled across the commonwealth. The weeks will be assigned as follows:
- Week 1 (September 27-October 3): Central Mass/495/MetroWest
- Week 2 (October 4-10): Western Mass/Berkshires/Pioneer Valley
- Week 3: (October 11-17): Northeast
- Week 4: (October 18-24): Southeast/Cape & Islands
- Week 5: (October 25-31): Greater Boston
Employers or school districts interested in participating in an open house in October can visit the following sites for more information, including guidance on how to successfully host an event.
- http://ampitupma.com/manufacturingmonth, which includes Massachusetts-specific information on Manufacturing Month.
- www.mfgday.com, which includes events around the country.
Announcement of Manufacturing Month came one day after Governor Baker and several key administration officials discussed the challenges of training and educating the next generation of manufacturing workers during a meeting of the Massachusetts Workforce Professionals Association. I had the opportunity to introduce the governor at that event and to talk about AIM’s Blueprint for the Next Century, which recommends elevating the role vocational education and other steps to close the skills gaps that threatens to impede the growth of manufacturers in years to come.