Casey Calls on Administration to Prioritize Manufacturing in Upcoming Budget
Study: Currently 600,000 Unfilled Manufacturing Jobs Due to Skills Gap
Monday, February 11, 2013
In Letter Senator Calls for Focus on Workforce Training, Research and Development
PA Exports Grew from 2010 to 2012 But More Can Be Done
Washington DC- Just ahead of the President’s State of the Union address, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on the Administration to prioritize manufacturing investments in its upcoming budget, today during a conference call. In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, Senator Casey called for a focus on workforce training, research and development and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership among other initiatives.
“Investing in manufacturing is key to creating jobs and growing the Commonwealth’s economy,” Senator Casey said. “With its upcoming budget the Administration has a unique opportunity to focus federal policy on our manufacturing sector. I’m hopeful that the Administration will use this year to focus on a segment of our economy, the manufacturing sector that creates family sustaining jobs and supports Pennsylvania’s economy.”
In his letter, Casey identified several manufacturing initiatives:
- Training our Workforce: Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs target the specific needs of workers depending on their education and experience. Almost 260,000 adults in Pennsylvania participated in WIA programs in 2011, and 70 percent of those receiving training and other services entered employment.
- Incentives for Innovation: The Research and Development Tax Credit promotes innovation by providing companies with an incentive to work on new technologies and products. According to Department of the Treasury, the credit produces approximately a dollar for dollar increase in current research spending.
- Export Promotion: The National Export Initiative is critical to enforcement efforts which level the playing field for domestic industry.
- Direct Support for Manufacturers: The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) works with small and mid-sized firms to help them create and retain jobs, and increase productivity and profits. There are seven MEP centers in Pennsylvania, and in fiscal year 2010 they helped created more than $500 million in sales, and 5,000 jobs.
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
The Honorable Jeffrey Zients
Deputy Director for Management
Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20503
Dear Mr. Zients:
As the Office of Management and Budget prepares the President’s budget request for the 2014 fiscal year, I urge robust support for the manufacturing sector. Specifically, I believe investments should be focused on education and workforce development, expanding smart incentives, enhancing export promotion, and providing direct support for the sector.
According to a 2011 joint study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, there are 600,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs due to a skills gap. I frequently hear evidence of this point from employers in Pennsylvania. Funding for education and workforce development is critical to preparing individuals for the job opportunities of today. To that end, I ask the Administration to promote strong investment in Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs, which are critical to closing the skills gap. WIA coordinates a number of programs that target the specific needs of workers depending on their education and experience. Almost 260,000 adults in Pennsylvania participated in WIA programs in 2011, and 70 percent of those receiving training and other services entered employment. I believe Career and Technical Education programs play a critical role too. These programs provide the opportunity to gain the skills needed for specific occupations, and allow students to earn industry-recognized credentials, certificates or degrees.
Tax policy also plays an important role in providing incentives to encourage domestic production. Specifically, I urge enhancing the Research and Development (R & D) Tax Credit and making it permanent. The Research and Development tax credit promotes innovation by providing companies with an incentive to work on new technologies and products. According to Department of the Treasury, the credit produces approximately a dollar for dollar increase in current research spending. I encourage expanding this current to further fuel advancements in the manufacturing sector.
Export promotion is essential to a strong manufacturing sector. On this front, we have made some progress in recent years. In Pennsylvania, exports have seen significant growth, increasing from $28 billion in 2009 to $39 billion in 2012. However, there is more work to be done and investments in the International Trade Administration (ITA) to implement the National Export Initiative are critical. Specifically, I suggest robust funding of our enforcement efforts to level the playing field for domestic industry.
Lastly, there are a number of initiatives that provide direct support to the industry, which have a proven track record. As you know, research and innovation are essential to developing the advancements that will keep our firms competitive. To that end, I support enhanced investment in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories to assist in their work from next-generation robotics and smart manufacturing to nanotechnology and cybersecurity. I also strongly support the NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which works with small and mid-sized firms to help them create and retain jobs, and increase productivity and profits. By partnering with the private sector and state and local governments the program manages to leverage federal funding into a nearly $300 million program. These resources resulted in almost 34,000 manufacturers around the country being served in fiscal year 2011, with every dollar of federal investment leading to nearly $20 in new sales growth. There are seven MEP centers in Pennsylvania, and in fiscal year 2010 they helped created more than $500 million in sales, and 5,000 jobs. Despite the program’s success, funding for the MEP has been flat in recent years. I encourage you to make additional investments in the program.
Thank you for your consideration of these priorities.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator
April Mellody 202-228-6367