Tomorrow is National Manufacturing Day and it is worthy drawing attention to this celebration because manufacturing matters in New Jersey. It’s as simple as that.
Anyone who doubts this can review the statistics at the end of this blog. But consider this – New Jersey’s manufacturers employ 6.5% of our workforce. The combined output of all of our manufacturers exceeds $38 billion – yes, billion.
I have spent my career promoting a strong manufacturing presence in New Jersey. Indeed, I have focused my efforts on two pillars: support for the manufacturers, and equally important, encouraging the development of a skilled workforce. We cannot have one without the other.
First, the issue of supporting manufacturers. I’ve provided a summary of these efforts below, but it’s vital to understand the underpinnings that support the legislation. The climate and culture of the state must be receptive to the needs of manufacturers if they are to remain in New Jersey or if we are to attract new companies. Senate Bill No. S-366 is a perfect example of this. The manufacturing sector relies heavily on geographic location (you can’t work remotely), and municipalities and states must answer this question: Why should an entrepreneur move to your town or state? Every business asks this question.
This bill offers a direct benefit. It requires the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to establish a manufacturing assistance program. The bill allows a taxpayer that is a manufacturing business (within a manufacturing zone) in a priority area to apply for a corporate business tax credit. This is a substantive boost for a business looking to relocate (or remain). Decisions on where to locate almost always rest on numerous factors but a tax credit could play a significant role in a manufacturing firm’s expansion plans or adding strength to its financials. This is a good move to entice manufacturing in New Jersey.
Additionally, we need to provide an enhancement to our workforce, a topic which I have promoted since gaining office. Senate Bill No. 1366 establishes a manufacturing machine and metal trade apprenticeship tax credit program. This legislation would allow a tax credit under the gross income tax and corporation business tax. It would encourage manufacturing employers to provide structured training to machine and metal trade apprentices and add more skilled workers to the New Jersey labor market.
This is sound legislation because it helps everyone: manufacturers, potential workers and the municipalities where the company is located. What is particularly appealing is that once these machine and trade apprentice complete their training, they enter the workforce with a completely new status and skill level. This provides apprentices with an elevated position that increases their chances of both finding a job and securing a career path.
My legislative initiatives include:
Legislation: Manufacturing Bills:
- S-366 Establishes manufacturing business assistance program to encourage manufacturing in certain areas of the state.
- S-1143 Sca (1R) Establishes a manufacturing reinvestment account program to incentivize capital investment and workforce training in New Jersey with income tax rate reductions, deferrals, and accelerated deductions.
- S-1921 Establishes Edison Innovation Science and Technology Fund in EDA to provide grants for certain science and technology-based university research; appropriates $5 million. (NOTE: Includes manufacturing technology)
- S-2256 Establishes Main Street Assistance Program to encourage business development in small municipalities. (NOTE: Bring manufacturing businesses to small towns)
- S-3539 "New Jersey Venture Investment and Employment Program Act"; establishes program under NJ EDA to provide for qualified investments of capital in qualified businesses.
Legislation: Developing skilled workforce
- S-393 Establishes Talent Network Program in DOLWD/ S-973.
- S-1366 Establishes manufacturing machine and metal trade apprenticeships tax credit program.
- S-2556 Creates Joint Apprenticeship Incentive Grant Program.
- S-2624 Provides dedicated funding for promotion of apprenticeships and apprenticeship programs from Workforce Development Partnership Fund.
- S-3066 Creates five-year High-Growth Industry Regional Apprenticeship Development Grant Pilot Program.
- S-3067 Establishes five-year Apprentice Assistance and Support Services Pilot Program.
- S-3068 Requires Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to establish apprenticeship mentoring program for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
- S-3069 Enhances pre-apprenticeship programs and allocates funds.
- S-3070 Concerns NJ PLACE program and allocates $300,000 for FY2019.
Manufacturing remains a significant and powerful force in our economy. It also serves as a job destination for a yearning workforce who wishes to work and are willing to receive training that results in a higher skill set and job possibilities. It comes down to making goods that people want by people who have the skill to produce those items. And I’m confident that these legislative initiatives are a practical and workable road to that end.
That’s my take, what’s yours?
Manufacturing Matters in New Jersey’s economy.
- There are more than 11,000 manufacturers in NJ.
- NJ Manufacturers employ more than 6.5% of our workforce.
- More than 250,000 professionals are employed in the manufacturing field.
- Output from NJ manufacturers exceeds $38 billion.
- Chemical manufacturing is the most dominant sector in NJ.
- Exports support more than 17% of manufacturing jobs.
Source: National Association of Manufacturers