Business

Valley Works: Manufacturing Jobs

Monday, April 08, 2013

Between 2001 and 2010, California lost more than a half million manufacturing jobs. Now, there is a huge effort to not only restore those jobs but to make the state the advanced manufacturing hub of the country

Governor Jerry Brown, is not only pushing to bring manufacturing jobs back to the state but he wants California to create the next generation of manufacturing jobs.

What they use to do by hand, is now controlled by a computer driven machine.

Reedley College Instructor David Tikkanen said, "We are seeing the manufacturing worker today understanding precision measurement, blueprint, machine tool technology."

Tikkanen says while its imperative students learn the new technology of manufacturing. It's also important that they know the basics, and have an understanding of how the hand driven machines work.

"That's what a lot of our advisory and committee members telling us, please stay with the conventional, build that skill set and then take them into the computer equipment," explained Tikkanen.

While these students are preparing themselves for jobs in the Valley's Ag based economy. Manufacturing as a whole has declined in the U.S., one report estimates that over the last decade the U.S. lost 33 percent of its manufacturing jobs.

Sandeep Dugall the head of a Bay Area company called Extron was just one of the industry leaders. As well as representatives from the state's top universities and community colleges who came together for a recent advanced manufacturing summit staged by Governor Browns office of economic development.

Director Kish Rajan says the summit is in direct response to President's Obama's initiative designed to re-establish the nation as the global leader in manufacturing.

Director Rajan explained, "And of course we believe for that to happen California would need to step up and lead the country so we are here talking about what strategy could be for California to come together and unify around the notion of leading in advanced manufacturing."

The state is pushing to become the site of one of the 15 manufacturing hubs that will be established around the country. It is a competitive process, with millions of grant dollars at stake.

Director Kish Rajan added, "One of the key benefits of this meeting is to begin the process of developing one unified proposal so we can do as much as we can to be one of the winners and to be one of the first new national hubs for advanced manufacturing."

Fresno is pushing to be a part of that process. Mike Dozier, Director of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State, made sure the Valley was represented.

Dozier said, "The important part is to be a part of the overall state effort when it comes to advanced manufacturing and Fresno a part of that."

Dozier says the Central Valley has been targeted to develop manufacturing in the areas of water technology, Ag and energy. This is important because it is estimated that every manufacturing job creates another 1.6 jobs.

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