National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Policy Aric Newhouse participated in a roundtable discussion today as part of the 2013 kick-off event for the House Manufacturing Caucus. The caucus is chaired by Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) and today’s event also featured Emily Foster of Cummins Inc. and Ralph Resnick of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) to discuss the critical role of manufacturing to our economy in 2013 and beyond.

NAM's Aric Newhouse discusses the challenges facing manufacturers at today's kick-off event.

NAM's Aric Newhouse discusses the challenges facing manufacturers at today's kick-off event.

The NAM’s Aric Newhouse began the discussion talking about the 20 percent cost differential manufacturers face in the United States compared to our largest trading partners. As part of that cost differential the U.S. actually has an advantage when it comes to energy. According to Newhouse, we need to implement policies which will allow us to “run up the score on energy.” Access to affordable sources of energy will help manufacturers in the United States better compete against growing global competition and create more jobs.

The panel also discussed the growing need for skilled workers in manufacturing. Each of the panelists discussed the need for policies to help address the skills gap, and what manufacturers are doing to help train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Emily Foster of Cummins talked about the various programs and partnerships at Cummins to help provide students with the necessary skills for successful careers in manufacturing. Ralph Resnick of (NAMII) talked about how manufacturing has changed over the decades. “Manufacturing is not dark, dirty and dangerous, but it can be exciting,” said Resnick.

To conclude the discussion Newhouse discussed policies that can help close the skills gap. The America Works Act was introduced today in the House which can provide a great benefit to manufacturers. “On the ground and local level give us the ability to turn things around,” said Newhouse.

In order for the U.S. to remain the worlds largest manufacturing nation we must train and develop a highly skilled workforce for the future. Today’s event was a positive discussion of several of the challenges facing manufacturers and how Congress can help address these issues.

The NAM looks forward to continuing to work with members on the Manufacturing Caucus to advance these policies during the 113th Congress.

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