The Research Triangle's Manufacturing Economy Ain't What It Used To Be!
True or False: Since 1990, in the Research Triangle Region, total manufacturing jobs have declined dramatically.
The answer is “False.” In fact, the number today is roughly equal to that of two decades ago.
It’s easy to see why many people would assume manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Our region -- based on its name alone -- is renowned for R&D, life sciences and I/T. Companies like Red Hat, Syngenta and Novozymes often overshadow those such as GKN, Caterpillar, Meridian Zero, and Revlon. It’s also worth remembering that many of our top tech and biotech names are also manufacturers: Merck, GlaxoSmithKline and Cisco come to mind.
Some arrived in one part of our region to conduct research and later found their way to a manufacturing site somewhere nearby. Solar technology pioneer Semprius is an example of that. Earlier this year, the fast-growing Durham-based company opened its production facility in Henderson.
Though we’re not exactly known as a manufacturing region, businesses here can do it all – capitalizing on a fertile intellectual infrastructure while also tapping into a rich manufacturing heritage that reaches back generations.
How is the Research Triangle Region able to be both a leading technology and a leading manufacturing region?
In short, we’ve got human capital that can fuel the success of just about any company, industry or operation. The region’s diverse and growing workforce enables just about any company to flourish. But that’s not the full story. Behind the region’s well-prepared workers are innovation-minded educational and training programs that hone high-precision skills and shape business-savvy minds. Our universities produce engineers, scientists and analysts while our community colleges turn out graduates equipped with the technical know-how today’s manufacturers demand.
Our region’s manufacturing economy is alive and well. It’s filled with exciting, sustainable career opportunities for skilled workers who are committed to keeping up with the latest tools, techniques and technologies.
It is true that the Research Triangle Region’s manufacturing economy ain’t what it used to be.
It’s far better!
Author: Charles A. Hayes, CEcD, President & CEO, Research Triangle Region