Celebrating Manufacturing Every Day
This Friday, Oct. 1, Pennsylvania is celebrating National Manufacturing Day to help promote the fulfilling career opportunities offered by the PA manufacturing industry. We spoke with Secretary Davin to learn more about the role this important industry plays in our economy and how the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) supports manufacturing every day.
The Keystone of Our Economy
As fall returns to the Keystone State, we take a moment to celebrate Manufacturing Day, a national celebration of the manufacturing industry that presents us with an opportunity to honor our heritage as makers and innovators who helped to build America. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the opportunities our manufacturers offer to our workforce and our economy. Today, our manufacturing industry is the eighth-largest in the United States, with an economic impact of $92 billion, and accounts for nearly 11 percent of all jobs in Pennsylvania. And those jobs are high-paying jobs. On average, our manufacturing annual wage — which is more than $72,000 — is nearly 8.4 percent higher than the average salary across the state.
Manufacturing offers more than just financial benefits. As an industry, we know manufacturing companies also tend to be good employers. A significant majority of manufacturing workers receive medical and retirement benefits — national figures place those numbers at 85 percent and 76 percent, respectively. On top of that, manufacturers also know the value of investing in expanding their employees’ skillsets, whether through on-the-job training, apprenticeship programs, or other workforce development programs.
And that’s because manufacturers need workers with a variety of backgrounds, skills, and education levels. Workers and students looking for fulfilling careers in STEM fields, production work, transportation, management, and more can find a place in our thriving manufacturing industry. Looking at all we produce in Pennsylvania — from fabricated metals, food, machinery, and chemicals to plastics, electronics, and transportation equipment — really inspires a sense of pride.
Our Commitment to Manufacturing
That sense of pride helps to fuel our commitment to supporting our manufacturing industry. Under the leadership of Governor Wolf, DCED is working with manufacturers across Pennsylvania to address today’s needs and plan for tomorrow’s workforce.
Governor Wolf’s experience as a manufacturing business owner has informed his efforts to help promote and grow our state’s manufacturing sector. We are seeing this commitment play out through several key programs and initiatives, including Manufacturing PA. A multifaceted initiative, Manufacturing PA was created to enhance the growth and competitiveness of our manufacturing industry. It involves DCED’s strategic partners, including the Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs); Pennsylvania’s colleges, universities and technical schools; and nonprofit organizations providing critical training and workforce development opportunities to support the manufacturing industry and its workforce.
Job training to career pathways is a primary focus of the initiative’s efforts. Manufacturing PA’s new Manufacturing Training-to-Career grant program can be used to help identify and teach missing essential skills for entry-level applicants for existing or near future open positions. The initiative’s Pennsylvania Manufacturing Innovation Program connects manufacturers with some of our leading research universities and gives them the opportunity to work with student researchers to develop innovative solutions to their manufacturing challenges. And the IRCs, which have long been part of DCED’s economic development network, continue to offer specialized technical assistance to manufacturers focused on improved bottom-line strategies, productivity enhancement, and waste elimination, and achieving topline growth by supporting strategic initiatives, new and improved products, market differentiation, and workforce development strategies.
Complementing Manufacturing PA is Governor Wolf’s workforce development initiative, known as PAsmart. Through PAsmart, Pennsylvania students and workers are connected with resources to ensure that our workforce is ready for fast-growing, in-demand jobs in STEM fields. Over the next decade, more than 70 percent of new jobs in Pennsylvania will require STEM skills. That is why the PAsmart initiative will be dedicating $20 million to implementing STEM and computer science education at all levels, $6 million to doubling registered apprenticeship programs with employers by 2025, and $4 million to supporting Industry Partnerships focused on developing public-private partnerships for job training.
Of course, Manufacturing PA and PAsmart are new additions to our existing programs which offer support to manufacturers. From financial support through the PA Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) and its low-interest loans and lines of credit, to WEDnetPA which offers worker training for existing employees, to Pennsylvania First funding to support expanding businesses creating jobs, we have a robust toolbox of economic development resources ready to help manufacturing grow in Pennsylvania. Not to mention the technical assistance we offer through our Business One-Stop Shop, Engage!, PREP, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Regional Export Network, and Life Sciences Greenhouses for those companies looking for guidance on a wide array of topics. Through our collaborative partnerships with dedicated and experienced economic development professionals, we help businesses learn about business-related topics ranging from exporting to international markets, to exploring procurement opportunities with the state and federal governments, to improving existing operations and processes, to developing and adopting new technology and techniques, and so much more.
Join Us in Celebrating Our Makers
Manufacturing is an important part of our daily work at DCED, and it is a topic that we are excited to talk about every day. And it’s not just talk. We write a monthly blog series (Meet the Makers | Maker Monday Spotlight), promote it on our social channels (check out our hashtags for #IMakeInPA and #MadeInPA, and add your own posts), and continue to collaborate with our partners throughout the state.
I am excited about the opportunities we’re seeing in today’s manufacturing industry and invite you to join us in celebrating Manufacturing Day this Friday, Oct. 1! Help us spread the word about modern manufacturing, its positive impact on the economy, the benefits for existing workers and students exploring new careers, and all the ways Governor Wolf and DCED are committed to supporting this vital industry.
To learn more about what Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry can offer you and your company, visit the DCED website. Stay up-to-date on DCED news by following signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and join the Pennsylvania manufacturing conversation using the hashtags #IMakeInPA, #MadeInPA, #PAsmart and #MFGday21.
Neil Weaver has two decades of experience in non-profit and government management, operations, and communications. During his career, Neil has served in executive management at both the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection. In his current role as Acting Secretary at DCED, Neil functions as the chief executive of an agency that is responsible for administering grants, loans and tax credits that spur economic growth, community revitalization, and job creation throughout the state by providing strategic technical assistance, training, and financial resources to help our communities and industries flourish.