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Manufacturing Summit delivers cornerstone for California growth

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on July 1, 2011



On Wednesday, June 29, CMTA, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom convened the "Everything Grows with Manufacturing" Summit in Sacramento. More than 150 people attended and more than 170 watched the live webcast, as a diverse group of Californians -- including labor, investors, economists and policy leaders -- showed broad consensus and confirmed the importance of manufacturing for our state's future.

Newsom announced that his California economic development plan will be released in July and he said that manufacturing growth will be one of the cornerstones of that plan.

Perhaps a closing quote from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom summed it up best: "We need a bias for action", Newsom said telling the crowd emphatically that "we must deliver, not just comment in California". 

CMTA president Jack Stewart outlined the Association's own vision for California's future, citing the state's recent manufacturing investment decline, as well as the tremendous economic surge that comes from the sector when it can compete regionally.  You can see CMTA's vision document here.

Moving forward, the Summit proves that there is real consensus in support of California manufacturing and the need for a competitive environment.  California can not assume that our natural advantages will attract high wage manufacturing job growth.  We need a plan, predictability, regulatory cost analysis, and lower costs if we are serious about welcoming all manufacturers.

Unfortunately, to this point, California's only plan has been to focus on very few specific types of manufacturing, all while ignoring California's existing industrial base.  Everyone benefits when we open the doors for all manufacturing.  We shouldn't pick between existing and emerging sectors.  It's all advanced manufacturing.  Every manufacturer in California innovates, create jobs in other sectors, exports, and provides high wages for our middle class.   Further, our existing manufacturers are the most environmentally friendly in the world.

For example, we can't afford to lose Boeing's C-17 production facility with its 3,000 employees in Long Beach and 7,000 supplier jobs throughout California.  C-17 program manager Bob Ciesla indicated at the Summit that Boeing likely could not compete in that same facility if the C-17 project is terminated.

Stories from the front lines like that are a wake up call.  For that reason CMTA has set up an online tool for Californians to sign on to support manufacturing as an essential part of the state's future and the livelihoods of our hard working families.

CMTA will make a chaptered Summit video available soon, but for now you can watch the full video here.

Here are some key quotes and paraphrases from some of the panelists:

Lt. Gov. Newsom:

"We've not had an economic development plan sponsored by CA in decades.  Arguably because we've never needed one. But now we've become average."

"We have the highest income inequality in America since the Great Depression."

"The iPhone is designed in CA, but all the phones are assembled in China. That doesn't work for us."

"We need to start 'casing' other joints."

"There is no more well placed state for economic recovery, if we implement an economic development plan."

"Education IS economic development" (CMTA: this is an important concept to grow our waning career technical education system)

"We must acknowledge problem.  20 counties have more than 15% unemployment rates."

"One CA CEO got a cell phone delivered to her from Gov. Perry from Texas.  It had one programmed phone number in it."

"We're the innovation capital of the world. We have to get into the business of the future."

"Establish a framework of leadership and singularty of focus on job creation."

"95 percent of job growth is organic"  (regarding our need to focus on existing manufacturing)

"There is tremendous opportunity in CA because the bar is so low." (tongue firmly in cheek)

CMTA's Jack Stewart:

"CA has four new or expanded facilities for every million people in CA over last four years.  The U.S. avg is 40."

"College is important but we also need other pathways for students to pursue careers."

"We have to expose our kids and teachers to the benefits of manufacturing careers."

"California can be the magnet for manufacturing and economic growth if we commit to a vision that includes creation of a predictable and welcoming business climate in the state."

"We must work collaboratively with interest groups that have not always worked together toward a common purpose."

CCPOA's Mike Jimenez:

"We've recognized that the only way we are going to turn CA around and support vital services is to grow our job base and manufacturing."

"We're not creating vocational learning opportunities to build the middle class."

Milken Institute's Ross DeVol:

"Manufacturing playing a big role in nation's economic recovery." (explaining that CA needs to get a piece of it)

"CA can take actions to change our policies if we have the WILL to do so."

"You can't be successful with just conceptual knowledge, You have to have practical knowledge to grow."

"$2 billion ready to go for oil refinery investment in Richmond, but obscure regulationss have all but haulted the project."

"We're not retaining the value of innovation through manufacturing."

E2's Bob Epstein:

"Don't discourage manufacturing for no public good." (ie sales tax on mnfg equipment)

"Green business has to make the good stuff happen sooner."

State Sen. Bob Dutton:

"Investors don't like uncertainty. They don't like chaos.  They need to know a region is stable."

"A gentlemen who builds desalination plants has been working to site one plant in California for ten years.  He's built six other plants in other parts of the country in that same time."  (on duplicative and time consuming regulations)

Labor leader Art Pulaski:

"We must give our students the choice of career tech education."

"Most effective training programs to move kids into long-term middle class jobs are union apprenticeship programs."

"CA led the way in creating infrastructure that built CA middle class. We need to recommit to investment in infrastructure."

"We support bill in legislature that creates a single point of entry for biz in CA."

"It's important for labor & biz to find common ground. If we just oppose one another, we're never going to get anywhere."

Boeing C-17 manager Bob Ciesla:

"We are the largest private employer in Long Beach. Once this airplane goes away, Long Beach and California is going to feel it"  (On not being able to guarantee they'll produce another product in that California facility)

"We face a stark reality.  If we don't get more orders, this program will shut down."

"We need to be more competitive."  (regarding the possibility of a B1 and B2 program in California after the C-17 program)

"Business has to get involved with defining STEM curriculum in our schools."

AE BioFuels CEO Eric McAfee:

"If you fail to attract the growth capital sector you kill off your future."

"Need to nurture young ppl to be the new innovators that create CA economy of the future."

"There is an 8-month delay before we can put out first bolt in the ground in CA."

"Think about CalPERS money.  Very little of it is dedicated to manufacturing." (that's telling)

"We also have a funding problem/chasm. Most funding coming from China."

Former CA Secretary of Trade & Commerce Julie Meier Wright
"CA is only one of three states that taxes the purchase of manufacturing equipment."

Key tweet from labor:

ssmith_calabor: Rich discussion with a diverse group. Bottom line: We need good jobs. Let's work together to rebuild manufacturing #mfgsummit

See more at twitter hashtag #mfgsummit

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