Portland, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today visited Portland manufacturing company Indow Windows to launch the Manufacturing Jobs for America package and call on Congress to refocus on creating middle class jobs in America. The Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative aims to build bipartisan support for legislation that will modernize America’s manufacturing sector, help American manufacturers grow and create jobs, and assist American workers in getting the skills to succeed in the next generation of manufacturing jobs. The package includes 40 bills — many with bipartisan support — that are divided into four organizing principles:
- Strengthening America’s 21st century workforce
- Opening markets abroad
- Creating the conditions necessary for growth
- Expanding access to capital
“Congress should be focused on creating jobs for our middle class families not fighting about shutting down the government,” said Merkley. “That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass the Manufacturing Jobs for America package and help Oregon’s working families. Washington can and should do a lot to expand manufacturing, because if we don’t build things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America.”
Workers in manufacturing jobs earn 22 percent more in annual pay and benefits than the average worker in other industries, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Every new manufacturing job created adds another 1.6 jobs to the local service economy, and for every dollar in manufacturing sales, another $1.34 is added to the economy. Investments in manufacturing have a stronger impact than investments in any other economic sector.
In fact, Oregon is in a unique position because of our dependence on manufacturing. Oregon is the state with the greatest share of its economy tied to manufacturing. In 2011, 29% of Oregon’s gross state product (GSP) was from the manufacturing sector.
The package discussed today includes two bills written by Merkley: the BUILD Career and Technical Education Act, which would support career and technical education in middle schools and high schools; and the Job Creation through Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act, which would provide competitive grants to states to fund new or expanded industrial energy efficiency financing programs.
The Manufacturing Jobs for America package has earned the support of the National Association of Manufacturers; AFL-CIO; Alliance for American Manufacturing; American Automotive Policy Council; American Small Manufacturers Coalition; Association for Manufacturing Technology; Bloom Energy; BlueGreen Alliance; Dow; DuPont; Ford Motor Company; General Electric; the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation; National Association of Development Organizations; National Skills Coalition; One Voice – National Tool & Machining Association, and Precision Metalforming Association; Progressive Policy Institute; STEM Education Coalition; Third Way; the United Autoworkers; and the United Steelworkers.
For a full list of the legislation included in Manufacturing Jobs for America, go to http://coons.senate.gov/manufacturing.