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PA Gov. Outlines Manufacturing Recovery Strategy

January 10, 2005

Hoping to combat and reverse job losses in the manufacturing sector, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell outlined his blueprint for recovery last month, entitled "Manufacturing Innovation."

Nearly 165,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Pennsylvania since 2001. Manufacturing, however, remains one of the largest sources of jobs in the state's economy, accounting for one out of every eight jobs. Gov. Rendell's blueprint targets this important sector for Pennsylvania, defining key business finance, workforce and technical support tools for manufacturers to remake themselves.

To increase business capital for manufacturing, the blueprint recommends the state undertake three steps:

  • Explore opportunities for new pension investment in manufacturing by working with the state and public school's employees' retirement systems;
  • Strengthen linkages between venture funds and manufacturers; and
  • Aggressively pursue federal grants for small business innovation research and technology transfer programs.

The plan also outlines a number of steps needed to make manufacturing more competitive, including: create an early warning network to identify distressed firms; help small and rural firms with succession planning; help firms to identify pollution planning and energy efficiency opportunities; and study business tax reform commission recommendations.

In addition to positioning his new strategy, the governor appointed Tom Palisin as Pennsylvania's first Manufacturing Ombudsman and named Paul Piquado as the executive director of the newly-created Office of Fair Trade. Palisin will work to help solve problems involving state agencies and to help businesses "cut through the red tape." He will be responsible for assisting employers with questions regarding business finance, workforce training programs, permits and other regulatory issues.

Piquado will function as an advisor to, and advocate for, Pennsylvania business to ensure businesses can compete in the global marketplace.

More information is available through the Gov. Rendell's website: http://www.governor.state.pa.us/