PMA Bulletin -- March 27, 2013

GMAC Recommendations Taking Shape In PA; Over 190,000 Job Openings Posted on PA Website

On Thursday, March 28, Governor Tom Corbett will be in the Lehigh Valley to announce a campaign to implement his Manufacturing Council’s (GMAC) top recommendation under its Talent and Workforce initiative -- the Adopt a School program. Whoever said manufacturing is dead certainly isn’t paying attention.

“With affordable energy and other favorable trends in the global market, U.S. manufacturing can be the envy of the world once again,” said David N. Taylor, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, and member of the Manufacturing Council.  “Following the recommendations of GMAC and NAM will ensure that we don’t get derailed along the way.”

The Governor’s Thursday announcement regarding Adopt a School is the seed of a statewide public relations campaign to overcome the misconceptions about manufacturing jobs. This is a of those working to incorporate the GMAC recommendations released last August.

“The main thrust of the program is getting into the schools and demonstrating to teachers and their students that modern manufacturing jobs pay very well and often times are in pristine environments,” said Matt Zieger, President & CEO of the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, which orchestrated the writing of the GMAC report.

The National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) recently released its platform for growing manufacturing: A Growth Agenda: Four Goals for a Manufacturing Resurgence in America.

In its Four Goals for a Manufacturing Resurgence NAM reinforces the fact that manufacturing has the highest multiplier effect of any sector of the economy. 

At the same time, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons notes that our global competitiveness is in danger of slipping. It’s 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States compared to our competitors, and that figure excludes the cost of labor.

“A bipartisan commitment in Washington to pro-growth policies will make our nation a more competitive place to do business,” Timmons wrote in an introductory to the Four Goals agenda. “To succeed, manufacturers need our elected leaders to choose policies that make this country a better place to invest, a better place to innovate and a better place from which to export. They must choose policies that strengthen our workforce so that it meets the needs of manufacturing in the 21st Century.”

NAM’s strategy covers the nation’s business tax climate, legal reform, health care costs, global trade policies, and workforce development.

In Pennsylvania, additional GMAC recommendations are taking shape as well.

On its www.jobgateway.state.pa.us site the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry lists a staggering 195,989 jobs available.

“The aim of the site is pure and simple to create a job matching system,” Zieger said. “Get the employers lined up with job seekers. You can see this accomplishes that.”

Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) spokesman, Steve Kratz, provided the following update of the other GMAC recommendations:

In September 2012, following the release of the GMAC report, DCED and Team PA established implementation teams around four topic areas in the report: talent and workforce, innovation, new markets, and access to capital. 

To date, one of the teams has reported updates. The innovation implementation team recommends working on creating an "innovation marketplace," an online portal and process that drives connections between manufacturers and innovative technology and business opportunities. This would provide the tools needed to speed growth through innovation and capture the high level of resources available within Pennsylvania.

It is also important to point out some of the items that have already been accomplished that were part of the final report:

  • Business Climate changes: Single Sales factor, elimination of Research & Development Sunset Date, Capital Stock and Franchise Tax phase out (according to Governor Corbett’s budget proposal), and Small Business Regulatory Reform. Additionally, the governor is proposing several additional reforms in this year's budget proposal including phasing down the Corporate Net Income Tax to 6.99 percent by 2025.
  • Talent and Workforce:  Job Gateway - a revamped job search website with more than 200,000 online job postings and enhanced functionality to assist the unemployed in finding jobs.
  • Pennsylvania Career Coach: a first-of-its-kind statewide, free online tool designed to help PA students and job seekers receive up-to date local employment information including projected job openings, recent job growth areas, and occupations that match skills and knowledge.
  • New Markets: DCED/ OIBD and Team PA created an International Business Advisory Board to evaluate the state's international business development efforts to maximize the effectiveness of the program and increase PA business export awareness to increase the number of PA businesses that are exporting. Most recently, Team PA sponsored a job and economic mission to Brazil and Chile in early March of this year. 
  • Access to Capital: DCED announced in January that it has reduced the interest rates of five business loan programs to encourage new economic growth and job creation. Interest rates for the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund, the Small Business First Program, the Pollution Prevention Assistance Program and the Export Financing Program were lowered from 2.75 percent to 1.50 percent. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) approved lowering its interest rates to 1.50 percent. PIDA and DCED will also waive fees charged to the borrowers. The new rates will initially be in place for applications received through March 31, 2013 to start, though reports are that this may be extended.