West Virginia Executive Spring 2017 - Page 41

A Blueprint for Success “By 2030, a typical manufacturing enterprise will have more highly skilled workers, more sophisticated automation, require more advanced infrastructure and depend on new innovations and new global markets to succeed. Things that are not yet conceived of will be produced in places that cannot currently compete. Some places will emerge as the best destination for manufacturing, and other places will see manufacturing jobs disappear. The question is what can our policy makers do to improve the region’s long-term manufacturing competitiveness.” – “A New Blueprint—Making the American South’s Manufacturing Sector More Competitive by 2030” The manufacturing industry has long been a vital component of the American economy. Despite the rapid-fire challenges resulting from globalization, automation and technological advancement, accord- ing to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitive Index, the U.S. remains one of the top three countries for manufac- turing, along with China and Germany. Currently, the U.S. produces close to 20 percent of all products worldwide, and by 2020, the U.S. is expected to retake the number one spot. Reaching that top spot will require in- novation and investment on both a state- wide and national level within the U.S. manufacturing industry. In an effort to identify areas of improvement and incite action within the industry, Ted Abernathy, the managing partner at Economic Leader- ship LLC, published “A New Blueprint— Making the American South’s Manufactur- ing Sector More Competitive by 2030.” According to the blueprint, “If the United States and the American South want to compete for new manufacturing, we need to maintain our business competitiveness, educate and train our citizens with new and higher skills, enhance our infrastructure with an emphasis on digital and improve the flow of new ideas and innovation.” JENNIFER JETT PREZKOP WWW.WVEXECUTIVE.COM S P R I N G 2 017 39