- Advanced Manufacturing
Addressing Manufacturing Job Woes With A New PlanSeptember 10, 2012
John Hudak, a fellow for Brookings' Governance Studies, explores a plan for helping the manufacturing sector rebound.
Unemployment and jobs skills – topics at the center of political debates this year – have put the manufacturing industry in the spotlight. But policies aimed at preventing further job loss in the industry haven’t healed the wound, writes John Hudak, a fellow for Governance Studies at Brookings.
Instead Hudak nominates another plan – Make It In America Block Grant Program – by Rep. David Cicilline, D-RI, as one that deserves attention.
Hudak explores the depth of challenges manufacturing has faced during the last decade and how Cicilline’s proposal could be an effective means of helping the sector rebound. Still, the plan poses political obstacles that prevent its passage, so Hudak offers an alternative solution that provides a politically feasible path and strengthens weaknesses in the proposal in ways that engage current federal resources, according to a summary of his paper.
The summary of Hudak’s paper points to a recent survey by the American Alliance for Manufacturing, which showed that 53 percent of those polled rated manufacturing as the most important sector of the economy. At the same time, the industry has suffered dramatic job losses. “The Block Grant Program offers a critical, cost-effective, common sense solution to this serious economic problem,” the summary states.
Hudak offers the following political and policy recommendations to advance the Block Grant program, as stated in his report:
- A focus on the size of the manufacturing sector in states represented by Republican governors and legislators.
- Being amenable to lower cost alternatives that may facilitate coalition building while providing (at least) some relief to manufacturers.
- Working with the Department of Commerce to implement a small scale pilot program within the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).
- Ultimately seeking to expand MEP to include existing assistance as well as additional block grant resources to state and local governments working to stabilize and revive manufacturing.