Friday, January 31, 2014

Manufacturing: Michigan Leads the Way

Unless you’ve been without power for the last 24 hours, and with this polar vortex that’s entirely possible, you know that President Obama delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday night. And, if you’ve read the transcript or watched it live, you know that there were multiple references to Michigan, including the highlight of Andra Rush’s Detroit Manufacturing Systems story of putting people back to work and of newly appointed GM CEO, Mary Barra, breaking the glass ceiling.

Pundits from all walks of life and on both sides of the aisle fact checked, praised and criticized aspects of the speech. Such is the nature of politics and our freedom of speech. Rhetoric aside, there were many positive mentions for Michigan and manufacturing. As the MMTC, we’re excited about that. So excited, in fact, that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about some of those initiatives and how we can help.
 
Job Training Programs
MMTC is a consulting company that does training. We’ve conducted tens of thousands of hours of on-site, personalized assistance for companies – from Internal Audit to Six Sigma, Leadership and workforce development, and strategic planning sessions for CEOs and managers – to help strengthen businesses. We’ve gotten certified with IACET to offer Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) to help our trainees leverage new skill sets. With Vice-President Biden gearing up to “lead an ‘across-the-board’ effort to reform job training programs in America,” we’re confident that we’re up to the challenge. We’ve already had our ear to the ground to better understand the skills and services that Michigan companies need to remove capacity constraints, improve operational flow, and work with new and lightweight materials. We’re in partnerships with local economic development agencies, universities, trade schools, and community colleges to improve training content and make sure that tomorrow’s skills are being taught today.

Job Growth/Partnering with CEO’s to put people back to work
The mention of the “8 million new jobs created by business in the last four years” is indeed good news for Michigan and the nation. The call for reducing unemployment and putting people back to work resonates with us, since Michigan’s December unemployment rate of 8.4% ranks it still fourth-highest in the nation. As part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), MMTC is measured on the impacts we have on our clients, including their job growth. In the last 12 months, our clients reported that MMTC helped them create or retain 1,230 jobs. In addition, the President announced the convening of CEO’s from around the country to address unemployment. Midland-based Dow Chemical is among the top American companies enlisted to support this initiative. This is yet another example of how Michigan is leading the nation on industry support and manufacturing advancement.

Leveling the Playing Field and Opening New Markets for American Made Products
As noted in the President’s address, the volume of made-in-America goods and services is increasing and the U.S. is achieving record levels of exported products. In 2011, nearly one-third of all manufacturing workers in Michigan depended on exports for their jobs. 90% of Michigan’s exporting companies in 2011 were small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees, and they contributed 22.1% of all exported merchandise. MMTC has been working with companies to improve their supply chains and to match Michigan companies to more local suppliers. We also contract with companies to identify top markets for new and existing products, including international trade opportunities. Through our partnership with Pure Michigan Business Connect, we encourage companies to increase procurement spending within the state.

 No matter your political party or the political positions you hold, it’s clear that manufacturing - jobs, exports, and taking pride in American products - is back on the agenda. That’s a position we all can embrace. On behalf of Michigan, we say ‘Welcome to the party!’ American made, American strong? Michigan is leading the way.

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org

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