From the Executive Director's Desk

In conjunction with Labor Day, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM, www.nam.org) has released the 2010 annual index, “Made in America? What the public thinks about manufacturing today.” The objective of the annual survey/report is focused on three areas:manufacturing importance and image; future outlook for manufacturing and the talent pool; and competitiveness environment and areas for improvement. The snapshot of the industry provides important messages to our policy makers. Over 1000 Americans across the country responded to the survey, their age distribution, education level, and survey protocols are provided in the downloadable document.

Despite the current economic conditions, Americans in overwhelming numbers continue to agree manufacturing is very important to our economic prosperity, and 76% believe it is also important to our standard of living. Additionally, manufacturing was ranked second only to the energy industry for its importance to a strong national economy. Although only 30% would encourage their children to choose a career in manufacturing, many more now believe that the industry offers safe and clean working environments and high-tech, higher paying jobs requiring higher education. Most also said they would like to see manufacturing in our country strengthen and grow, at the same time anticipate it will weaken in the near future.

Although they strongly believe in the capabilities of the American workforce at all levels including research and development and technology and innovation, they are not so sure that our governmental policies provide and/or support a competitive manufacturing environment. Top disadvantages perceived by the survey respondents include business policies, tax rates, government leadership, and trade policies. Hopefully, government officials at all levels will read this document and explore opportunities to better support manufacturing in our country.

Please enjoy our September FLATE Focus articles about Tallahassee’s new Advanced Manufacturing Center, the innovative STEM Institute learning communities in Hillsborough County public middle schools, and learn the secrets behind the blue envelope millions of Americans open every day printed and assembled right here in Tampa Bay’s Valpak Manufacturing Center. We are also starting a new Educator’s corner that will be included occasionally throughout the year. Most of all enjoy the hectic, creative energy of the first days of a new school year – it often fades too quickly.