For Release Sunday, October 31, 2010
In our jobless recovery, where are the jobs of the future? Are big growth clusters the only real big opportunity? Is targeting clean energy and bioscience the preferred-above-all-others route? In the workforce field, should virtually all attention go to preparing people for health care and “green” jobs? How should cities and regions position themselves to turn the tide?
Missing from that familiar question list is a slice of the economy that’s significant, often communities’ greatest source of family-wage jobs: manufacturing.
That is not to say that no one is targeting manufacturing. Many communities have on their list of targeted clusters “advanced manufacturing,” as if using the term “advanced” gives one the sense that it is justified as a growth industry. In fact, this dichotomy between advanced manufacturing and traditional manufacturing does not represent the competitive environment. What is more relevant is that there are individual firms that can be competitive and there are many high-skilled jobs even in our more traditional industries.