Keystone Manufacturing Initiative

Manufacturing Council to Set Agenda for Enacting Recommendations

Manufacturing has a friend in Pennsylvania. The Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council (GMAC) recently recommended 15 changes in law and policy to make Pennsylvania more hospitable to manufacturers. Council members are set to meet in Harrisburg to develop an agenda for enacting those changes.

“What the Council will focus on is who is responsible for each policy change so that we can get these critical recommendations into place,” said PMA Executive Director David N. Taylor, a member of the Council. “The changes are across-the-board. Some require legislation, some change policies.”

The recommendations released on August 21 involve the state’s tax structure, education and training for prospective employees, reforms in the regulatory scheme, better access to domestic and international markets and other policy and legislative changes needed to improve the climate for manufacturers.

On September 6, 2012, the 24 Council members will meet in an all-day session with education officials, economic development and workforce development groups, and other stakeholders to assign responsibilities. “What we hope to accomplish on September 6,is not only to set an agenda for implementing the recommendations but also come to agreement on how they should be prioritized,” said Department of Community and Economic Development spokesman Steve Kratz.

In some instances, legislative precedent already exists. Earlier this year, Governor Corbett signed HB 1349, which requires an impact statement for any proposed regulation that may have an adverse impact on small business. The GMAC recommends that this law be expanded to cover all employers.

House Bill 1539, The Keystone Works I Program Act, (not yet enacted) would allow someone collecting unemployment compensation to be matched with a participating business that will then provide skill enhancement for up to 24 hours per week for up to six weeks. This measure, GMAC says, would help create a more competitive business climate by giving the workers the skills required for available jobs.

The industry notes that there are 600,000 high-paying, unfilled manufacturing jobs in the U.S. because there are not enough skilled workers to fill the positions. The GMAC believes manufacturers need to be part of the solution by communicating what skills they need to have in a worker.

“The manufacturing sector is the engine that drives Pennsylvania’s economy, adding $60 billion in value every year, directly employing 575,000 Pennsylvanians, and sustaining millions of additional Pennsylvania jobs in supply chains, industrial services, and distribution networks,” Taylor said. “PMA looks forward to helping the Corbett Administration and the General Assembly implement the pro-growth recommendations in our report.”