BREINIGSVILLE, Pa., Aug. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today joined manufacturing leaders to announce the findings and recommendations of his Manufacturing Advisory Council during a visit to Westport Axle in the Lehigh Valley.
"Manufacturing adds more than $70 billion in value each year to our state's economy and employs more than 570,000 Pennsylvanians," said Corbett. "Creating a business climate where manufacturers like Westport Axle can prosper will result in a growing economy and more jobs for our citizens. The company we are visiting today will be adding more than 500 new jobs."
Recognizing manufacturing's value to Pennsylvania's economy, Corbett late last year commissioned a private advisory council to identify and prioritize top issues that can help influence, sustain and advance that sector's statewide growth.
The 24-member Governor's Manufacturing Advisory Council, or GMAC, led by the Team PA Foundation, today sent its report to Corbett and the General Assembly outlining a list of 15 key recommendations it believes will help Pennsylvania remain competitive in today's global economy.
"I commend the work of this council and their commitment to this critical Pennsylvania industry," said Corbett. "I am proud to say my administration has already taken the first steps to address some of the highlighted issues and we look forward to working with industry leaders to address others identified in this report."
The report focuses on the building blocks of a strong manufacturing sector; new sets of tools to drive innovation and product development; better access to domestic and international markets; strategic public/private collaboration; improved access to capital; and a highly skilled and educated workforce. The council also found that many companies are having a problem finding workers with the education and skills to fill the growing number of advanced manufacturing positions available.
"We've recently seen the largest increase in manufacturing jobs in the state since 1991, but we can do better," Corbett said. "Bridging the gap between job-seekers and employers will address the great disconnect that currently exists between the number of available jobs and the number of people who are looking for work."
The GMAC panel, co-chaired by Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker and Carlos Cardoso, chairman, president and CEO of Kennametal Inc., gathered information about challenges facing the industry from a variety of experts and manufacturers. The council conducted meetings over a six-month period starting in January.
"Governor Corbett tasked the council with tackling the issues manufacturers know hinder their ability to grow and pose the biggest threat to a strong manufacturing sector," said Cardoso. "The group employed a common-sense approach to address manufacturing challenges in a fair and practical way."
The council consisted of 23 members from a cross-section of manufacturing interests, including heavy machinery, minerals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, steel and textiles. The council also includes three members of manufacturing trade associations and one from the Industrial Resource Center. Team Pennsylvania Foundation funded the council and no taxpayer dollars were used to support this initiative.
Governor Corbett announced the findings during a visit to Westport Axle, a manufacturer of sub-assemblies for the automotive industry. Westport opened its 516,800-square-foot Lehigh Valley plant earlier this year, becoming the company's first facility in Pennsylvania. Westport will invest more than $5 million and will create 518 new jobs within three years.
"My goal is straightforward; a healthy economy and a job for every Pennsylvanian that wants one," Corbett said. "This report provides a solid roadmap for us to work together to achieve that goal in the manufacturing sector."
The Corbett administration held similar announcement events at locations statewide with Department of Education Secretary Ron Tomalis; Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker.
The full report is available online at www.teampa.com/manufacturingcouncil.
Kelli Roberts, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116
James Mentzer, Team Pennsylvania Foundation, 717-233-1375
Christina M. Sutter, Kennametal Corp., 724-539-5708
Editor's Note: The Governor's Manufacturing Advisory Council members are:
C. Alan Walker, (co-chair), Secretary, Department of Community and Economic Development, Harrisburg
Carlos Cardoso, (co-chair), Chairman, President and CEO, Kennametal Inc., Latrobe
Samuel "Pat" Black, President & CEO, Erie Management Group, Erie
David Barensfeld, President & CEO, Ellwood Group Inc., Ellwood City
Greg Booth, CEO, Zippo Manufacturing Company, Bradford
Heather Chandler, President, Sealstrip Corporation, Gilbertsville
Frank Epifano, CFO, sanofi pasteur, Swiftwater
Janis Herschkowitz, President, PRL Industries, Cornwall
Jeff Kelly, CEO, Hamill Manufacturing Company, Trafford
Todd Kennedy, President & CEO, McClarin Plastics, Hanover
Leroy "Tighe" King, Chairman & CEO, Perform Group LLC, York
Daniel Langdon, President, East Penn Manufacturing Co., Inc., Lyon Station
Michael McLanahan, Chairman & CEO, McLanahan Corporation, Hollidaysburg
Louay Mishu, Plant Manager – Family Care, Proctor & Gamble, Mehoopany
Scott Meuser, Chairman & CEO, Pride Mobility Products Corp., Exeter
Michael Pearson, President, Union Packaging, Yeadon
Jim Rutkowski Jr., Vice President, Industrial Sales & Manufacturing Inc., Erie
David Simpson, President, Diamond Manufacturing, Wyoming
Mike Williams, Senior Vice President, United States Steel, Pittsburgh
Helen Yost, President, The Rowland Company, Philadelphia
Ralph Pontillo, President, Manufacturer and Business Association, Erie
David Taylor, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association, Harrisburg
Darlene Robbins, President, N.E. PA Manufacturer's and Employers Association, Pottsville
Jack E. Pfunder, President and CEO, Manufacturer's Resource Center, Bethlehem
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor