Manufacturing has changed dramatically in recent years. Higher-paying, more skilled jobs can transform our economy, and these industry changes are creating major multiplier effects within communities. North Carolina is uniquely positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.
North Carolina is the fourth largest manufacturing state in the country, and we rank first among southeastern states in terms of manufacturing employment. This sector is changing, and we are uniquely poised to take advantage of it.
Major manufacturing companies historically sought out cheap labor in places with enough infrastructure capacity to produce their products at the lowest cost. As the global economy offered increased national options, the U.S. saw manufacturing jobs disappear in textiles, agriculture and furniture. Some of those jobs are returning to the U.S., as today’s manufacturing changes.
Technology is the major reason for course reversal. Companies are using modern technology to fuel innovation, collaborate with others and design the best product possible. They produce at a higher output and pay higher wages.
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Learn more about new manufacturing opportunities in North Carolina in our latest report here. Visualize this information in our infographic here.
iei taking action
As a result of these sector changes, manufacturing intensive jobs in this sector are changing – drawing higher wages and. in turn, increasing the wealth of communities. In order to capitalize on these gains, North Carolina must be intentional about strategies to take advantage of the potential that this sector has to offer communities all across the state. See what initiatives IEI is taking to harness this potential.
28th annual emerging issues forum
Held February 11-12 at the Raleigh Convention Center, more than 1,000 people attended the 28th Annual Emerging Issues Forum, @Manufacturing Works.
manufacturing Vision statement
IEI convened working group members from manufacturing companies, economic development organizations, state government and chambers of commerce to develop public policies to support the state’s manufacturing. The working group members generated the following manufacturing vision statement for North Carolina:
Manufacturing is in the midst of a generational change, disrupting the economic and cultural fabric of North Carolina. At the same time, we remain the fourth most productive manufacturing state in the country. North Carolina’s manufacturing sector leads a vibrant innovative economy, with networked communities, a growing entrepreneurial and maker culture, and a strong commercial finance sector. Through strong statewide leadership, North Carolina will emphasize the critical importance of tradition and next generation manufacturing to its core economy. North Carolina commits to investment in strong supporting institutions, a highly skilled workforce, developing globally and locally networked communities, world-class infrastructure that creates logistical advantages and the agility to respond to the technological pace of change.
2013 manufacturing strategies
During the Forum, attendees used the working group vision to prioritize three strategies for improving manufacturing in North Carolina.
Better align manufacturing businesses and North Carolina’s educational systems.
Develop a long-term infrastructure plan for North Carolina, one that includes deep-water ports, air travel, roadways, highways/interstates, railroad systems and broadband.
Rebrand manufacturing as a career option promoting the value of careers and related training in manufacturing.
During the Emerging Issues Forum, Governor McCrory responded to the priorities and announced that the newly appointed Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata will develop a multi-year infrastructure plan aligned with the second strategy of improving infrastructure in our state. In addition, Governor McCrory announced the appointment of a new Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing in the North Carolina Department of Commerce who will serve as a point of contact for industry and share the impact of manufacturing on our state’s economy. This newly appointed individual will, along with major events such as Advanced Manufacturing Week hosted by the North Carolina Community College System, work to rebrand manufacturing as a new, exciting, and viable career path. To ensure progress on all three priorities, IEI has turned its focus to the first strategy of better aligning manufacturing business and educational systems.
Didn’t get the chance to have your question answered at the Forum? Find your question — and the answer –in our Speaker Q&A sheet, where Forum presenters responded to questions submitted during the Forum.
Photos and video
Click through the gallery below to view photos from the 2013 Emerging Issues Forum. Videos of the 2013 Emerging Issues Forum will be available shortly. In the meantime, you can download videos from the 2012 Emerging Issues Forum on IEI’s iTunes U page at no cost.
To facilitate a better connection between manufacturing businesses and education, IEI is partnering with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Community College System to host community forums in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. The community forums, held from April – May 2013, will bring together manufacturers, educators, city and county officials and other community leaders to develop strategies on aligning the needs of manufacturing businesses with North Carolina’s educational systems.
Help us begin to discover best practices across the state. and support a top statewide priority by sharing your story. How do you align manufacturing businesses with our education systems? Let us know in this quick, two-minute survey, and help support a statewide priority in NC.
IEI maker community
These community forums will develop top actionable priorities for alignment in each community and identify “champions” within North Carolina. IEI will identify one community that that makes the most progress on innovative and promising priorities. This community will be highlighted as an “IEI Maker Community” and will receive an award, which includes the following:
Access to experts who will serve as consultants to their local project(s)
Introduction to philanthropic organizations
Facilitated discussions hosted by IEI with in-depth use of the Emerging Issues Commons
Statewide recognition to include a feature in IEI’s newsletter, website, press release, and the next Emerging Issues Forum
IEI will identify, log, and track local activities, inputs, outputs, and outcomes.
manufacturing works @nc state
Manufacturing isn’t what it used to be. Students heard how NC State Alumni from engineering, humanities, business, and design have made their careers in the exciting new world of manufacturing. They learned how their interests fit into North Carolina’s next industrial revolution, and had their voice be heard as we all work together, across colleges, to make NC State University an incubator for a new generation of manufacturing in North Carolina.