Williams, Reed Advocate Clinton’s Manufacturing Policy

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – No matter who wins the presidential election, supporting the network of manufacturing hubs modeled on America Makes is absolutely critical for manufacturing in the United States, U.S. Assistant Commerce Secretary Jay Williams says.

Four years ago, the Obama administration established its first manufacturing hub in Youngstown. America Makes, initially known as the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is focused on improving and commercializing additive manufacturing – or 3-D printing – technology.

“This has to continue, not simply because it started under the Obama administration, which the president gets a world of credit for, but because it’s in our national interest,” Williams said. “The only way we will compete globally is if we have manufacturing innovation technology and that talent pipeline to remain the most competitive

Williams, Youngstown mayor before being tapped in 2011 to head the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, was among the speakers commemorating Manufacturing Day. Hudson Fasteners, a Youngstown Business Incubator portfolio company, organized the event.

Joining Williams for the program, held in the M Gallery at Erie Terminal Place, were U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio.

“We need more manufacturing hubs. We need more places that pull together education, local businesses, the community colleges, all those things to be effective,” Reed said following his public comments.

Continued support and expansion of the manufacturing hub program is just one element of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s agenda to support manufacturing, he continued. The senator was in Ohio Thursday and Friday to campaign for the Democratic nominee.

“Part of her effort too will be to identify resources so that we can really fund these efforts,” Reed said. Clinton’s plan involves investing in manufacturing and in education to allow students to go to school – not just four-year colleges but two-year technical schools – and “come out without huge, staggering debt,” he said.

Reed’s public remarks were largely dedicated to making the case for Clinton and contrasting her with her opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump. Clinton is “tough, just like the people of Youngstown” while Trump “seems to think he’s the only guy in the world who knows everything,” he said.

“You just have to look at some of the things that Trump has said and done,” he added. “You can see how his words and his actions don’t fit.”

During the event, Williams emphasized the need to have a “talent pipeline” to fill manufacturing positions. He recalled how manufacturing was de-emphasized for his generation, which was encouraged to go onto college instead. “Our generation was told we don’t make things,” he said.

“All the innovation, all the technology, this renaissance that we’re experiencing will be for naught, will be unsustainable if we don’t build that talent pipeline,” he said. Some 350,00 manufacturing jobs are available today and the biggest challenge is finding individuals qualified to fill them, he lamented.

Williams shared with his audience his efforts to steer his 6-year old son from his fascination with phone apps and encourage him to play more with his Lego sets. “I appreciate the fact that he likes apps but I more so appreciate when he plays with his Legos and uses his imagination to make things,” he remarked.

“We will not continue to be the most dynamic, the most innovative economy on the face of the planet if we say it’s an either/or proposition: We have to be a part of the idea economy and not the manufacturing economy. It has to be both,” he said.

The former mayor also noted there as “no better place to celebrate and acknowledge manufacturing” than Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

“With the idea of additive manufacturing that we’re doing at America makes, we’re really positioning ourselves to be a leader in the next generation of manufacturing,” Ryan said.

Ryan illustrated the reach of local advanced manufacturing technology with a story about a congressional trip to the Persian Gulf a few years ago. When he landed on the USS Harry Truman, there were several 3-D printers on board the ship from Applied Systems & Technology Transfer, a Youngstown Business Incubator company.

As part of the midday event, several manufacturing companies had displays. Among them was Printing 3-D Parts, Liberty Township.

The company has three big projects it is working on now, including one that is trying to get its products into the Walmart chain, reported Ted Webb, president and co-owner. “We’re doing prototypes for the packaging,” he said.

Pictured: Jay Williams emphasizes the importance of manufacturing at an event Friday in conjunction with Manufacturing Day.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.