Manufacturing Sector Contributes 33% Higher Wages

manufacturing-machine

Courtesy of FloridaMakes

State’s Three Rural Areas of Opportunity

(ORLANDO, FL) Sept. 30, 2016 – A new study conducted in rural areas of Florida reveals that wages earned by those working in the manufacturing sector were among the highest locally compared to other industries and were almost 33 percent higher than average earnings in 2015.  The finding was part of a study conducted by FloridaMakes, the state’s national manufacturing extension partnership program, under a grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), to assess opportunities for retention and/or expansion of existing manufacturing firms in rural communities.

“This study provides new insight on the impact that manufacturing has in Florida’s three Rural Areas of Opportunities, as well as an analysis of the industry clusters that currently exist in those areas,” said Kevin Carr, FloridaMakes CEO.  “The results of this study will enable FloridaMakes and DEO to identify strategies and services to support manufacturing and further economic growth opportunities for these regions.”

The State of Florida has designated three Rural Areas of Opportunity as priority regions for the Rural Economic Development Initiative.  The Rural Areas of Opportunity are defined as areas that have “been hurt by an extraordinary economic event, severe or chronic distress, or a natural disaster or that present a unique economic development opportunity of regional impact.”  Florida Rural Areas of Opportunity, all of which were included in the study, are:

  • Northwest Rural Area of Opportunity (Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington counties; and the City of Freeport in Walton County);
  • North Central Rural Area of Opportunity (Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Putnam, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union counties); and
  • South Central Rural Area of Opportunity (DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee counties; cities of Pahokee, Belle Glade, and South Bay-Palm Beach County, and Immokalee in Collier County.

Manufacturing from the three rural regions contributes nearly $1.8 billion to Florida’s economic output and represents 8 percent of the region’s total Gross Domestic Product.  In addition to supporting more than 16,000 jobs that pay over $800 million in earnings, manufacturers in these regions also pay $70 million a year in production taxes, generating a large impact on the regions in which they reside.

Manufacturing companies also purchase significant inputs from many other sectors including agricultural products and other production inputs, materials and supplies, professional services, and transportation services. And because manufacturing is a large exporter, it attracts outside dollars to the region while providing jobs and economic growth to those communities.

Among the study findings:

  • Each region has a high percentage of very small manufacturers, with fewer than five employees.
  • The North Central region is the most industrialized with more companies and more workers in manufacturing.
  • The wood products industry is significant in both the Northwest and the North Central regions.  Products derived from the yellow pine forests in northern Florida comprise the most important industries, including commodity product sawmills and pulp and paper mills, as well as higher value products such as trusses, millwork, and cabinets.
  • The chemical industry is important to all three regions.  More than 80 percent of the chemical firms have fewer than 50 employees.
  • Transport equipment, mostly boat building and servicing in the north, life rafts and airboats in the south, is also relatively important.
  • Cement and concrete products include blocks, bricks, roof tiles, septic tanks, and other finished products that pose more manufacturing challenges than ready-mix are important in the South Central region.

The full report, Rural Area Manufacturing Study:  An Assessment of Manufacturing in Florida’s Rural Areas and the Opportunities for Growth and Expansion, can be accessed on  www.FloridaMakes.com and click on ManuFacts.

For information about FloridaMakes and its services for manufacturers, visit www.floridamakes.com or call (407) 450-7206.

FSCJ Receives America’s Promise Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for Workforce Partnership Development

Courtesy of Florida State College at Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) was awarded the America’s Promise Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to strengthen and expand job training partnerships for the community. The only college in Florida to receive this grant, FSCJ will use the $1,804,656 award to support the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through advanced manufacturing training opportunities, specifically in mechatronics and welding technologies.

The grant was inspired by President Obama’s America’s College Promise plan to allow two free years of community college for responsible students. Designed to accelerate the development and expansion of workforce partnerships that provide a pipeline of skilled workers in specific, in-demand sectors, the grant requires partnerships that include industry leaders, senior-level leadership from workforce and economic development organizations, secondary and postsecondary education institutions, elected officials and other community stakeholders.

FSCJ’s regional workforce partners include Anheuser-Busch, First Coast Manufacturers Association, Kaman, FabTech Supply, Now Hiring Heroes, Pal-King, Remedy Staffing, Florida Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence, Ameri-Force, NOVA, CareerSource Northeast Florida (First Coast Workforce Development), JAX Chamber, JAXUSA Partnership, United Way of Northeast Florida, Early Learning Coalition, City of Jacksonville Military Affairs and Veterans Department, Fresh Ministries, FSCJ’s Adult General Education Program and State of Florida Vocational Rehabilitation.

The grant award allows for a project that aims to develop and implement:

  • An accelerated 10-week core fundamentals boot camp focused on building essential manufacturing workforce skills as identified by employer partners;
  • A Core+ upskilling training component that can be customized to employer needs;
  • An America’s Promise Manufacturing Open Lab featuring effective hands-on and simulation skills assessment; and
  • Skills attainment through Work & Learn paid internships.

Over the four-year project period, FSCJ will serve a minimum of 250 participants from various populations, including low-income individuals, unemployed and underemployed workers, individuals with limited English proficiency, individuals with disabilities, military veterans and their spouses, and disadvantaged and underrepresented populations with barriers to employment. Credentials to be awarded include: OSHA 10, OSHA 30, MSSC-CPT, NIMS Level 1, Autodesk Certified User-AutoCAD, Autodesk Certified Professional-AutoCAD and AWS Basic Welder.

Already one of the most affordable options in the nation, FSCJ is working toward reducing students’ dependence on loans by offering many low- and no-cost options such as dual enrollment and scholarship opportunities for qualified candidates, developing paid internship and apprenticeship opportunities in key areas of employment to assist with paying down student loans and providing career mentorship programs translating to higher job placement and satisfaction.

“FSCJ is committed to providing access to the education and training necessary that enriches both the lives of our students and the communities we serve,” said FSCJ President Dr. Cynthia Bioteau. “To be the only college in Florida recognized in this way reinforces the need to continue working alongside our tremendous partners to create valuable and affordable learning opportunities that elevates the workforce of tomorrow and generates a secure, prosperous future for all.”

Caterpillar could move 800 production jobs from Aurora plant

Caterpillar Inc. announced Wednesday it is considering moving as many as 800 production jobs from its Aurora, Illinois-area plant to facilities in Decatur, Illinois and North Little Rock, Arkansas.

If completed, the move would put an end to manufacturing operations at the suburban Chicago plant, which is actually located in Montgomery despite its Aurora name.

Production of large wheel loaders and compactors would shift to downstate Decatur and medium-wheel loaders to North Little Rock.

The Peoria, Illinois-based heavy equipment maker has struggled in recent years, beat up by tough emerging market conditions, drops in commodity prices, and unfavorable foreign exchange rates. All of those headwinds have combined to sap demand for Caterpillar’s products, forcing the company to lay off thousands of workers domestically and overseas.

“Faced with lower demand, we continue to evaluate our global manufacturing capacity,” Denise Johnson, Caterpillar’s resource industries group president, said in a news release. “We must use our existing space in the most efficient way possible while maintaining the ability to meet demand when it returns.”

Local officials expressed concern over the possible loss of jobs and offered to work with Caterpillar on the issue, the Aurora Beacon-News reported.

“We want to engage them as much as we can,” Aurora Mayor Robert O’Connor told the Beacon-News. “We value the jobs, and the presence the company has had in the community all these years.”

Source:  http://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2017/01/05/caterpillar-could-move-800-production-jobs-from.html