Keeping it Made in Jackson, Michigan, USA

Posted by scapozzola on 10/13/2010

AAM’s “Keep it Made in America” Town Hall Meeting is underway in Jackson, Michigan at the Commonwealth Community Center. Mayor Karen Dunigan starts the evening off by welcoming the crowd, followed by East Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

Bernero, who is running for Governor of Michigan, focuses his remarks on the need to rebuild manufacturing: "Why are we going to give up manufacturing?...I want to keep those good jobs here...We need to continue to make things.  It's what great nations do."

AAM Director Scott Paul reminds the audience that AAM has invited all candidates to speak at this event.  He then introduces Congressman Mark Schauer.

Rep. Schauer: "This is the fight of our time.  We need to train our workforce, we need fair trade."  Schauer shows the audience a Korean War veterans bag, which is, unfortunately, made in China.  Schauer says, "We need to change this."

Scott Paul then offers a short presentation on Michigan's job loss over the past decade.  He discusses the importance of balancing trade and revitalizing manufacturing, and looks at the 2.4 million jobs the U.S. has lost China since 2001.  He points out that next year, China will surpass the U.S. as the world's top manufacturer.

Paul then introduces Michigan Congressional candidate Richard Wunsch, who stresses the need for both worker education and paying down the national debt.  He is followed by Congressional candidate Lance Enderle, who talks about the lost automotive jobs in his home of Lansing, Michigan.

For the meeting's panel discussion, Scott Paul introduces: Sharon Collins, a local restaurant owner; Mark Gaffney, from the Michigan AFL-CIO; Amanda Proctor, Shop Rat Foundation Director; Bill Rayl, director of the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association, and, Mike Nevins, CEO of Full Spectrum Solutions.

Mark Gaffney emphasizes the need to create new jobs.  Sharon Collins relates the effects of job loss on a community.  Amanda Proctor talks about introducing manufacturing as a career to young workers.

Scott Paul points out that, unfortunately, manufacturing is potrayed poorly on TV.  In fact, contemporary manufacturing is far more skilled and hi-tech than most people realize.  Bill Rayl emphasizes the need for a level playing field to help U.S. manufacturers to compete fairly.






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