October 4, 2013
In early 2013, Mayor Michael Nutter in partnership with Councilman Bobby Henon issued Executive Order 5-13 establishing the Mayor’s Manufacturing Task Force. This body was created to study the Region’s manufacturing sector and provide recommendations and strategies to improve the City’s competitiveness for this important sector. The Task Force is led by 30 senior executives in manufacturing, representing companies of all sizes and product types, and is co-chaired by Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; Councilman Henon; Daniel Fitzpatrick, President of RBS Citizens and Chair of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; and William Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of AgustaWestland.The Chairs and Task Force are supported by an advisory group of 50 leaders representing academia, government, labor, economic development, and workforce development, and a consultant team led by IHS Global. PIDC was tasked with managing the operations of the task force.
The Consultant Team has arranged the study to center on five key foundational issues that are critical to the future of manufacturing: Talent, Government, Energy, Infrastructure/Transportation, and Innovation. Using a combination of regional and national data and first-person testimony from manufacturers in Philadelphia, PIDC, the Consultant Team, and other partners have spent the last six months studying the city and region’s manufacturing sector and understanding the major issues that either encourage or hamper additional growth. Some of the themes that have emerge relate to the difficulty in recruiting and training qualified talent, the cost of energy compared to other competing regions and how Philadelphia can take advantage of the natural gas industry throughout Pennsylvania, access to capital for equipment and product development, and the role of government with regards to taxes and regulation.
The ongoing conversations have been both enlightening and productive as the Task Force readies its final report to Mayor Nutter later this month. The final document will be posted on PIDC’s website and other sites upon completion.
October 4th was officially National Manufacturing Day. By working together during and after Manufacturing Day, manufactures will be begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. PIDC’s own Michael Cooper recently spoke at the Urban Manufacturing Alliance’s Annual Convening in California. Cooper presented on the Lower Schuylkill Master Plan, the redevelopment of a 4,000 acre section of Southwest Philadelphia to satisfy both the environmental and economic needs of a growing industrial economy.