Making Manufacturing “Cool” for our Youth

by Michele Nash-Hoff.

In an article in July 2, 2008 issue of Industry Week magazine, John Madigan, a consultant with Madigan Associates, observed, “Jobs paying $20 per hour that historically enabled wage earners to support a middle-class standard of living are leaving the U.S. Michele Nash-HoffPublic sector aside; only 16 percent of today’s workers earn the $20-per-hour baseline wage, down 60 percent since 1979.We need to help our youth realize that manufacturing careers, and particularly the advanced manufacturing that now dominates the U.S. industrial sector, creates more wealth than any other industry. Moreover, manufacturing pays higher wages and provides greater benefits, on average, than other industries. For example, in 2010, the average U.S. manufacturing worker earned $77,186 annually, including pay and benefits. The average non-manufacturing worker earned $56,436.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation (SME) is working to change the image of manufacturing and make it “cool” by sponsoring the “Manufacturing is Cool” award winning, interactive website, which challenges and engages students in basic engineering and science principles and provides interesting and useful educational resources for teachers. This fun and information rich website was recently “re-engineered” (updated) and marketed around the country. SME has received positive feedback from teachers, parents, and students about its usefulness.

“The explosion of technology and advanced manufacturing processes are evolving faster than it can be learned and applied,” says Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “We designed the Manufacturing is Cool website to inspire, prepare and support young people for careers in advanced manufacturing without patronizing them. We’re giving them access to real-world – people, jobs and technologies, all critical to them finding their place in a global economy.”

The site engages students in basic engineering and science principles and provides interesting and useful educational resources for parents and teachers. Today’s tech-savvy K-12 audience can explore the exciting world of advanced manufacturing engineering 24/7 to learn about the careers it offers and how its advanced technologies affect their daily lives.

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“Buying American” Generally Matters More to Women Than Men

Harris Importance of Buying American March 2013 woman

A majority of American adults believe that it is important to “buy American” across a variety of product types, according to results from a Harris Interactive survey, even if the definition of what constitutes an “American” product is not universally shared by respondents. Interestingly, while there were few gaps in the importance placed on “buying American” among Republicans and Democrats responding to the survey, women were more likely than men to feel it more important for each product category identified.

For example, women were:

  • 11% more likely to consider “buying American” important when purchasing major appliances (79% vs. 71%);
  • 10% more likely to consider it important for furniture purchases (78% vs. 71%);
  • 15% more likely to place importance on this factor when buying clothing (77% vs. 67%);
  • 14% more likely to find it important for car purchases (74% vs. 65%); and
  • 20% more likely to consider it important when buying home electronics (72% vs. 60%).

On each count, 18-35-year-olds were significantly less likely than any other generation to believe that “buying American” is important to them.

The survey finds that the definition of what constitutes “buying American” isn’t universally agreed upon. Three-quarters agree that a product needs to be manufactured within the US for them to consider it “American,” while a slight majority believe that it needs to be made by an American company for them to consider it “American.” Close behind, 47% agree that a product needs to be made from parts produced in the US for them to consider it “American.”

As the researchers note, the company perceived by respondents to be the most “American” – Ford – increasingly has cars which include parts produced abroad. Other companies showing up in the most “American” list – such as GE and Levi Strauss – also outsource some of their operations overseas.

Regardless of the extent to which these companies’ products meet consumer definitions, “Made in America” packaging can influence consumers. A study released last year by Perception Research Services found that about 8 in 10 shoppers notice “Made in the USA” claims in packaging, and about three-quarters of those believe that such claims make them more likely to buy the product.

According to the Harris survey results, the most commonly-cited important reasons for “buying American” are to keep jobs in America (90%), to support American companies (87%), and due to quality (83%) and safety (82%) concerns with products assembled outside of the US.

About the Data: The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 12 and 18, 2012 among 2,176 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Data for the “What company do you consider to be most ‘American’” question was conducted online within the United States between January 2 and 4, 2012 among 2,126 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Source: http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/topics/automotive/buying-american-generally-matters-more-to-women-than-men-27559

 

o learn more about Made in USA Certification: http://www.USA-C.com

MADE IN USA CERTIFIED LOGO

U.S. Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties On Chinese Solar Imports

Employees assemble photovoltaic panels at Suntech Power Holdings Co.’s factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China, in 2011.

The U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs of 31 percent to 250 percent on Chinese solar-product imports, siding with companies including SolarWorld AG (SWV) in the U.S. that said the items were sold below the cost of production.

The fees, announced today in an e-mailed statement, add to duties as high as 4.73 percent imposed earlier for getting unfair subsidies from China’s government. SolarWorld had asked for levies of more than 100 percent. Aaron Chew, a New York- based analyst at Maxim Group LLC, said before the decision that tariffs higher than 10 percent would be considered a victory for the U.S. companies.

“Commerce today put importers and purchasers on notice about the consequences of importing illegally subsidized and dumped products from China,” Gordon Brinser, the SolarWorld unit’s president, said in a statement.

The Commerce Department said a final determination on the tariffs would be made in early October. U.S. customs agents will collect a deposit or bond on solar cells made in China in the 90 days before today’s decision.

SolarWorld said its Hillsboro, Oregon-based U.S. unit can’t compete with Chinese exporters, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP), the world’s largest solar-panel maker, and Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) unless tariffs are imposed. Suntech was told to pay 31.22 percent, Trina’s levies were set at 31.14 percent and others were told to pay duties ranging from 31.18 percent to 249.96 percent.

Shares Rise

U.S.-based solar-product companies rose in New York trading after the announcement. First Solar Inc. (FSLR) climbed 94 cents, or 6.7 percent, to $14.92, and SunPower Corp. (SPWR)added 51 cents, or 10 percent, to $5.59.

Opponents of the punitive tariffs, such as the Washington- based Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, which includes Westinghouse Solar Inc. (WEST) and more than 100 other companies, claim the levies would cost U.S. jobs.

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US govt sets new tariffs on China solar panels

The low cost of labor, coupled with the massive scale of production at its 14,000-person plant, have enabled China's Suntech to become the global industry leader in solar power in just a decade

MARCY GORDON | AP Business Writer – WASHINGTON

The Commerce Department is imposing new import fees on solar panels made in China, finding that the Chinese government is improperly giving subsidies to manufacturers of the panels there.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday it has found on a preliminary basis that Chinese solar panel makers have received government subsidies of 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent. Therefore, the department said, tariffs in the same proportions will be charged on Chinese panels imported into the U.S., depending on which company makes them.

The tariff amounts are considered small, but the decision could ratchet up trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Several U.S. solar panel makers had asked the government to impose steep tariffs on Chinese imports. They are struggling against stiff competition from China as well as weakening demand in Europe and other key markets, just as President Barack Obama is working to promote renewable energy.

“Today’s announcement affirms what U.S. manufacturers have long known: Chinese manufacturers have received unfair … subsidies,” Steve Ostrenga, CEO of Helios Solar Works in Milwaukee, said in a statement. The company is a member of a group called the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing.

On the other side, some U.S. companies argue that low-priced Chinese imports have helped consumers and promote rapid growth of the industry.

The new tariffs are low, making the Commerce Department decision “a relatively positive outcome for the U.S. solar industry and its 100,000 employees,” said Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy. “However, tariffs large or small will hurt American jobs and prolong our world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Fortunately, this decision will not significantly raise solar prices in the United States.”

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China solar giant faces glare of US trade war

The low cost of labour, coupled with the massive scale of production at its 14,000-person plant, have enabled China's Suntech to become the global industry leader in solar power in just a decade

In the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, home to the world’s biggest maker of solar panels, labour is so cheap that workers carry out jobs by hand while machines designed to perform the same tasks sit idle.

The low cost of labour, coupled with the massive scale of production at its 14,000-person plant, have enabled China’sSuntech to become the global industry leader in just a decade.

Chinese producers now dominate the global solar power business. But their success has become a major global trade issue as American companies accuse them of dumping in the US market and receiving unfair subsidies from Beijing.

The US government is due to announce findings on the issue later this month, which could result in duties against Chinese manufacturers.

Suntech denies unfair business practices have helped make it the world’s largest producer, but it makes no secret of its strategy of keeping prices low to boost sales and make solar power available to more people.

“We don’t believe we have any unfair subsidies or anything like that,” said Suntech’s vice president for global marketing Edwin Huang. “We just hope it doesn’t turn into a full-scale trade war. It’s not good for anyone.”

US companies have accused China of improperly subsidising its solar sector as part of a no-holds-barred commercial battle for supremacy over an industry experts estimate will be worth trillions of dollars in the future.

They say Chinese competitors have access to cheap financing from state-owned banks and outright government subsidies aimed at building up the industry, as Beijing makes alternative energy a priority.

At least three US solar companies collapsed last year as global prices slumped, among them Solyndra, which had a $535 million loan guarantee from US President Barack Obama’s administration.

Evergreen Solar, once listed on the Nasdaq exchange, and high-profile Intel spin-off SpectraWatt also shut down.

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