The U.S. manufacturing industry has lost many jobs in recent years to cheaper labor abroad, yet there are higher-skilled jobs that are currently unfilled due to a skills gap in the labor pool. Manufacturers and their communities can either hope that things will cycle back around, or they can take a more proactive approach. Many are choosing to do the latter by participating in programs such as Manufacturing Matters (locally) and Manufacturing Day (nationally).

Manufacturing Matters is a local initiative announced by Mayor Nutter in early 2013 to study and evaluate the state of the manufacturing industry in Philadelphia, with the goal of increasing manufacturing activity and jobs in the city. The taskforce, comprised of representatives from various city departments and agencies, regional and community leaders, and private industry, is charged with delivering a recommendations report later this year.

The taskforce is currently gathering input from local manufacturers by touring their facilities and interviewing management teams about their concerns and needs. A number of companies have already participated in the process. If you have not done so already, you can get involved and help make a difference by opening your doors and inviting the taskforce in for a visit to hear your story. Visit for more information.

On a national level, the second annual Manufacturing Day is scheduled for October 4, 2013. Manufacturing Day is an opportunity for manufacturers, educational, and other institutions across the country to host events such as plant tours, open houses, and workshops to increase public awareness of modern manufacturing.

"Manufacturing Day is a great opportunity to shift Americans' perception that it is not our grandfather's manufacturing anymore and to showcase the tremendous career opportunities manufacturing has to offer," says Jay Timmons, President and CEO of National Association of Manufacturers, one of the event’s sponsoring organizations.

Manufacturers in our region can participate in this year’s Manufacturing Day by hosting an open house or plant tour and inviting their local community leaders and dignitaries in for a firsthand look at what they do. Or, they can attend one of the many scheduled events at other local facilities. More information is available at

Improving the state of manufacturing in our region and across the nation will require a willingness by everyone in the industry to actively get involved: discuss issues with your state and U.S. representatives, invite them and other influencers of manufacturing reform to visit your facilities, proudly show them who you are and the value you provide to the community, and educate them on the technology and innovation that represent today’s manufacturing.

A number of our clients are participating in programs such as those discussed above; perhaps you will consider joining them?