Friday, Oct. 4, is National Manufacturing Day. In Illinois, we are recognizing manufacturing throughout the whole month — as we should. It is an opportunity to celebrate our deep manufacturing tradition and plan for our vital role in today's global economy.
This year's manufacturing celebration comes at a critical manufacturing moment. Much is being said about a manufacturing renaissance and the reshoring, or return of production to the United States. We are witnessing significant investments to nurture manufacturing at federal, state and local levels. Illinois has always had a deep manufacturing tradition. Starting with lumber and wood manufacturing in the 1800s, to food, metal, plastics, biopharmaceutical and nanotechnology, generations of manufacturing have made the state a global manufacturing powerhouse.
Illinois manufacturing today has tremendous strength. For example, our productivity is the envy of the rest of the world, almost 30 percent higher than any other nation and 10 times higher than countries like China.
Yet, it is a time of tremendous transition. Process and product innovations are fundamentally changing manufacturing and the necessary workforce skills. It is also a time of tremendous complexity due to globalization and technology. The free market economy now has 7 billion people creating intense competition. Our manufacturing leaders are up for the challenge. Yet, we still must overcome a skills mismatch resulting in a situation with relatively high unemployment and numerous jobs going unfilled.
During this manufacturing day and month, we encourage you to take time to recognize the manufacturers in your communities. This is our opportunity to connect with future generations, help address a challenging skills gap, and take charge of the image of manufacturing. Numerous open houses across the state will be highlighting our industries and those organizations focused on preparing the future workforce. Look up www.mfgday.com. Be proud of "Made in Illinois"!
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