Comstock's magazine 1118 - November 2018 - Page 16

n OPINION WE NEED A LOCAL MANUFACTURING REVOLUTION by Tracey Schaal L ast month, I traveled with the Sacramento Metro Cham- ber of Commerce to Brooklyn to learn about best practices that have made this New York’s most sought-after borough. One of the major themes was manufacturing. While the speak- ers we heard from and the venues we visited were as diverse as the products they produce, the message to the 120 of us who participated in this study mission was clear: Manufacturing is too important to ignore, and the Capital Region needs to make this sector one of our core tenets for prosperity and calculated growth. In the world of proactive economic development, there is no bigger way to impact a community than to locate a manu- facturing company. We often hear people discuss the importance of bring- ing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and that advanced manufactur- ing companies deserve our focus. But why, you may ask. On the surface, manufacturing may not be as sexy as a shiny new tech startup, but from my experience as executive director of the Power Inn Alliance — serving a business district where manufacturing is prominent — I have seen how our industrial end-users truly have the abil- ity to improve our economy. For every dollar that a manufacturing company invests in an economy, it generates another $1.81 in impact, according to National Association of Manufacturers. Attracting additional companies to become part of their needed supply chain, pay- ing higher-than-median wages to their employees, producing a product that is then sold and generates tax revenue — these are just a few of the ways in which manufacturing jobs are critical to the overall success of our region. A Forbes article published in 2016 stated that for every manufacturing job, another four jobs are created. No other industry sector can claim that same significance. The Power Inn Business District is home to over 62 percent of the City of Sacramento’s manufacturing jobs and over 14 per- cent of the six-county region’s manufacturing jobs. Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Mitsubishi Rayon, Balanced Body and HP Hood are just a few of the significant employers who call our district home. At the beginning of my tenure in 2015, when the Power Inn Alliance was looking for ways to grow our manufacturing base, we recognized that landing a large-scale manufacturing facility in the state of California could be chal- lenging for a multitude of reasons including: strict regulatory environment, steep cost of land and buildings, high workers’ compensation rates — to name just a few. But we knew that growing our manufacturing base would provide substan- tial economic benefits for the city and for citizens within our community, so we have made it our goal to attract micro-man- ufacturing companies. In 2017, we created a micro-manufacturing competition called Mak- ing Your Mark to assist a fledgling manufacturer in bringing their product to commercialization. Of- ten, the founders of these manufacturing compa- nies are wickedly talented in their field of expertise, yet they lack some of the tools needed to fully bring their com- pany to life — specifically, access to legal advice, marketing strategies, equipment financing, real estate assistance and many other service-related functions that many of us in the business world take for granted. We announced the winner of our 2nd annual Making Your Mark on Oct. 5, which is recognized as National Manufacturing Day. Liquid Flower, a veteran-owned line of cannabis-infused health and wellness products, was chosen for its innovative product, focused offering and ability to become commercial- ly viable. The company received a prize package worth more than $50,000 in goods and services. Michael Patterson and his young company exemplify why we as a region need to embrace our young manufacturers, and give them the tools and support to grow here over the long-term. The single most important factor for a manufacturer is ac- cess to and availability of a skilled workforce. I often hear from many of our largest employers that they struggle to find the The single most important factor for a manufacturer is access to and availability of a skilled workforce. I often hear from many of our largest employers that they struggle to find the talent they need. 16 | November 2018