Brown LTE: U.S. Manufacturing

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Brown LTE: U.S. Manufacturing

Columbus Dispatch – Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch for reminding us that the United States remains the "leading manufacturing nation on the planet" ("Editorial: A powerhouse", Feb. 4).

As the third largest state for manufacturing exports and jobs, Ohio must continue to produce the goods used in markets across the world. While Ohio's manufacturing sector remains strong, here are two ways that we can increase innovation and attract more middle class manufacturing jobs to our state.

First, we must ensure our state is producing the workers with the right training to attract high-tech, high-growth manufacturers. To help scale up through workforce development, I've authored the bipartisan Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success Act (SECTORS), which would empower local communities community colleges, industry leaders, and workforce development boards to address the disparity between high unemployment rates and a shortage of skilled workers for emerging industries such as clean energy, health care, and information technology. By tailoring workforce development program to meet the needs of these expanding industries, Ohio can attract 21st century manufacturing jobs.

Second, we need to create a favorable business climate that supports innovation and production one that not only promotes private sector growth, but also creates jobs in America. Unfortunately, too many other countries are manufacturing and commercializing American ideas. China is on track to make half of the world's wind turbines and solar panels and plans to sell most of them to countries like the United States, even as those technologies were first developed with American ingenuity. R&D tax incentives and clean energy tax credits have already helped Ohio business expand operations and to keep and retain jobs. But it is also imperative that we close the tax and trade loopholes that encourage U.S. companies to send manufacturing jobs and middle-class paychecks to other countries.

The death of U.S. manufacturing has been greatly exaggerated, but we can certainly do more to keep it alive for future generations. It's critical that American innovation results in products Made in America.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio

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