Hand Out, Hand Up: The Revitalization of Manufacturing


On Monday, April 15th, as many scramble to finalize last minute tax returns, manufacturers from across North America will be gathering in San Antonio for the “Revitalization of North American Manufacturing Conference,” sponsored by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. AME’s literature indicates that manufacturing is ‘facing a critical period in domestic history’.

Everyone these days seems to be talking about manufacturing reform, renaissance or revitalization. We have transitioned from an environment where manufacturer requests for assistance were ignored to a time when everyone thinks they have THE answer for its woes. We don’t think there is just one answer.

As the experts in understanding issues surrounding small to medium sized manufacturers and as part of the national
Manufacturing Extension Partnership, we’ve had our ear to the ground on many issues and potential solutions from all over the country. It’s still unclear how many are really listening and how many are simply posturing, but here in Michigan, we’re making progress.

Delta College's offering is just the latest in a series of courses from community colleges and regional partners that re-engage with job seekers to provide accelerated raining on CNC machines and other skills coveted by manufacturers. In Grand Rapids and other areas local MichiganWorks! Agencies are putting on a series of Ready NOW! Events providing participants with help on resume writing, interviewing, branding and team building, and securing interviews with participating employers.

Because we believe that small business owners are America’s job creators we’re focusing on
Family–Owned businesses to ensure that those job creators stay in business to the fourth and fifth generation. Along with our own experts, we’re compiling a group of industry leaders who can speak to the unique challenges and opportunities for succession planning and business valuation to create a successful transition strategy.

The MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program has been working to connect qualified Michigan manufacturers with needs expressed by large Tier OEMs like Ford, BAE, and Boeing. MMTC, SBTDC, Economic Developers and other partners actively refer companies for these opportunities and MEDC is working diligently to arrange these as requests come in.

Another initiative is the Innovation Realization: Building and Supporting an Advanced Contract Manufacturing Innovation Cluster in SE Michigan, sponsored by Innostate. MMTC and its partners are scheduling visits with manufacturing companies that specialize in bringing new ideas to market. We believe that a strong contract manufacturing base with a propensity to transition from idea to prototype in quick succession is a key to technology transfer and growth.

Buy American Provisions have created a lot of buzz, resulting in new opportunities regularly. The most recent Make it in America Supplier Scouting opportunities have come from the Department of Energy and Edison Nation. We expect these opportunities to continue to come as successful matches are made.

As our national leaders focus on tax reform, investing in infrastructure, and monitoring our international trade issues, things that can only be tackled at that level, we and our partners continue to focus on creating jobs, strengthening Michigan manufacturers, resulting in the innovation and production of more goods in the United States either by improved processes or local procurement, and preparing highly skilled workers for the next generation of manufacturing.

Instead of manufacturers standing empty-handed, MMTC and our partners stand ready to lend a hand. Together we can build a stronger, flexible, innovative Michigan economy.

Categories: MEP National Network, U.S. Manufacturing