New Jersey has been selected as one of four states to participate in a policy academy to identify best practices, partnerships and policies to strengthen the manufacturing industry in their communities, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced today.
Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership and organized by the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) in Ohio and the Center for Regional Competitiveness, the Policy Academy on Strengthening Your State’s Manufacturers (Policy Academy) will offer New Jersey and other selected states dedicated technical assistance to help develop and implement policies that will strengthen their manufacturing bases. New Jersey joins Kentucky, Puerto Rico and Utah in the Policy Academy.
“New Jersey’s selection into the Policy Academy reaffirms Governor Murphy’s proactive approach to reclaiming the State’s role as a leader in innovation and manufacturing,” EDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Sullivan said. “We are confident that SSTI’s programming and expertise will help us build actionable plans that effectively support this crucial sector as part of the Governor’s larger goal to strengthen our state’s economy.”
The technical assistance provided by the Policy Academy will support the State in developing and implementing a plan to support manufacturing-related partnerships and policies that will help to move its economic development strategy forward. Peer-to-peer learning opportunities, webinars, visits by a lead technical expert and experience facilitator, and one-one-one meetings with Policy Academy instructors are all included in the Academy. Participation in the Academy will result in the identification of a set of actions for New Jersey and its manufacturing community to implement to ensure the State is well-positioned to capture 21st century manufacturing jobs and growth.
More than 11,000 small and large manufacturing firms currently employ over 375,000 workers within the Garden State, with an emphasis on technologically-advanced manufacturing processes across industries. In total, New Jersey’s manufacturing sector is worth $44.52 billion in output and represents 7.8 percent of the State’s gross domestic product.
Since January, the Murphy administration has taken the following steps to increase support of its manufacturing sector:
- Created a Jobs and Economic Opportunity Council to provide Governor Phil Murphy’s office with economic advice for stimulating job growth and workforce development in the State.
- Launched the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network to bolster on-the-job training in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and other high growth sectors and strengthen the connections between our education and workforce systems.
- Made important investments in critical transit and intercity rail infrastructure that are essential to the manufacturing sector in New Jersey and the nation.
- Ordered the development of a new Energy Master Plan to create a roadmap to get to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, ensure a modern, affordable, and reliable energy system, and attract clean energy supply chain companies.
“For more than twenty years, we’ve helped develop and implement initiatives that support prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,” SSTI President and CEO Dan Berglund said. “We’re excited to launch this new Academy and have included New Jersey based on the critical role manufacturing plays in its economy and its forward-thinking vision for the industry’s future.”
By choosing New Jersey for this year’s Policy Academy class, or “cohort”, SSTI also recognized the State’s long history of research and development, its highly-educated workforce, and its strategic Northeast Corridor location. These factors are enhanced by connections to international markets, with the Port of New York and New Jersey being the third-largest port in the United State by volume and the largest by value of goods.
The EDA will spearhead the State’s delegation to the academy. The EDA submitted the Garden State’s application in partnership with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NJMEP). Brian Sabina, the Senior Vice President of the new Office of Economic Transformation (OET) within the EDA, will lead New Jersey’s 15-person delegation, which will include senior government and private sector officials, academics, as well as industry group leaders. NJMEP is a non-profit organization that offers training and resources to support small- and mid-size manufacturing businesses within New Jersey.
“Advanced manufacturing has been identified by the Governor and OET as one of several sectors that will be pivotal in fortifying the State’s long-term competitiveness,” said Sabina. “We are confident that our work with the SSTI and the NJMEP will fuel meaningful policy that will serve as a foundation for a viable long-term strategy for economic development.”
Sabina expects that lessons learned through the year-long Policy Academy will not only strengthen the state’s manufacturing economy, but also promote long-term benefits to the entire state, including reduced unemployment, increased private sector investment, and a more diverse and knowledgeable workforce.
“NJMEP and its Industry Partners are very excited about this next logical step being taken by our State in regard to this National Policy Academy. Coupled with the year-old New Jersey Legislative Bi-Partisan Manufacturing Caucus, this teaming is unprecedented in my more than 30 years in the manufacturing and engineering sectors in New Jersey,” said NJMEP CEO John W. Kennedy, Ph.D. “Now we are adding applicable and viable tools that did not exist in the past.”