Enterprise Minnesota Magazine - February 2012
HELPING MANUFACTURERS GROW PROFITABLY
2012 Results Are In
The spirit of Steve Jobs may have been hovering over some of the 20 focus groups of manufacturers that we convened this year as part of our annual State of Manufacturing® survey research project.
Mr. Jobs used some of his final days at Apple to promote the global competitive value of a domestically trained workforce. Apple moved hundreds of jobs to China, he told his biographer, because he couldn’t find enough qualified engineers in America. It was unfortunate, he said, to surrender America’s longtime strategic advantage: productive, high-quality workers.
The same sentiment was heard in our focus groups this year. Manufacturers are celebrating the opportunities in home shoring, but see looming vulnerabilities in the shortage of qualified workers. They are watching a whole generation of workers prepare to retire and they see few stepping up to fill their shoes. This issue is not going away any time soon, but we think the solution will be found, based on the empowerment of The State of Manufacturing®. We wanted manufacturers to better understand their aggregate value to their own communities and, as such, to better position themselves as their community’s center of quality employment. We wanted to do this by expanding the conversation to community leaders and policy-makers. And that has happened.
The State of Manufacturing® is a time-consuming and expensive project that has achieved considerable success thanks to many sponsors and allies. First and foremost, we need to thank the National Association of Manufacturers for sponsoring one of our focus groups. Their leadership enabled us to assemble an executive roundtable that consisted of some of Minnesota’s top manufacturing executives.
Rob Autry, our pollster, is a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, one of America’s top public affairs survey research companies. Our State of Manufacturing® strategic consultant and project manager is Mason Public Affairs, a Twin Cities public relations and public affairs firm.
Our seven statewide sponsors this year include Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, Granite Equity Partners, Gray Plant Mooty, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group, RJF, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, Trusight and Xcel Energy.
This year’s regional sponsor is The Blandin Foundation.
We were also able to amass insights from manufacturing executives throughout the state thanks to our 20 focus group sponsors, including Southeast Technical College, Southwest Initiative Foundation - Winona, Southwest Initiative Foundation – Redwood Falls, South Central College, Trusight, Minnesota Wire, National Association of Manufacturers, The City of Minneapolis, Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, Mid-American Financial Group, Productivity Inc., Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, Gray Plant Mooty, St. Paul Port Authority, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group, Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, Alexandria Technical and Community College, Tri-State Manufacturers’ Association and Xcel Energy.
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