Triangle Chatter

Recognizing the Economic Benefits of New and Advanced Manufacturing

June 6, 2013

Institute for Emerging IssuesDid you know between 1990-2009 North Carolina averaged 1,337 manufacturing startups each year yet nearly 85 percent of these companies have fewer than 25 employees? The benefits of this changing sector are obvious – for every $1 of output, up to $1.35 is generated elsewhere in the economy. North Carolina and its local communities are in the midst of a manufacturing revolution.

Smart manufacturing technologies, 3-D printers, new materials and crowd-sourced product design, are revolutionizing what and how products are produced.  These changes require new and higher skill levels in the manufacturing workforce and greater connections between industry and educational systems for economic success. 

For the past year, the Institute for Emerging Issues has been working to focus policymakers on the opportunities for business and job creation in next generation manufacturing. Now we are turning our attention to help communities realize the economic benefits of new and advanced manufacturing, and what kind of skills are necessary for working in this sector. 

To facilitate a better connection between manufacturing businesses and education, IEI has partnered with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Community College System to host community forums in counties all across North Carolina. The community forums, held from April - July 2013, are bringing 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. 

On May 30, 2013, IEI co-hosted a community forum with Granville County Government at the Granville County Expo Center. Other community forums in the RTRP region are planned for Chatham County on June 13 and Franklin, Vance and Warren Counties on July 18.  Forums conducted thus far have generated consistent themes. Counties across the state have recognized the need for apprenticeship and internship programs, rebranding of manufacturing, and partnerships bringing together industry, education, local government, and support services.

For more information about the forums, click here.

Author: Diane Cherry, Environments Policy Manager, North Carolina State University's Institute for Emerging Issues

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