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.

Read more of this post

Town hall meeting to address “Keep it Made in America”

By 

Rebuilding the manufacturing base and creating jobs in western New York is the focus of a town hall meeting being held in downtown Buffalo Monday night.

It’s called the ‘Keep it Made in America’ Town Hall. And it’s being hosted by the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the United Steelworkers.

The union’s District 4 Director John Shinn says the goal is to help business leaders, organized labor, elected officials, educators and citizens understand the role manufacturing can play in reinvigorating the economy.

“Citizens of the state, when they have these manufacturing jobs, they spend money. It helps the secondary businesses. One dollar paid to a worker in New York state in the manufacturing sector would role over to the area businesses three, four times.”

Shinn says governments can help by enacting policies that guarantee taxpayer funded projects use goods made in the USA. And he says the academic community can help by educating students with the necessary skills to fill jobs.
“There’s a demand for skilled labor positions within manufacturing and also semi-skilled labor positions…We have employers that can’t hire instrument technicians, electricians, welders, pipe fitters…these are good living-wage jobs.”

The meeting includes panel discussions, video presentations and opportunities for audience participation.  It gets underway Monday in Asbury Hall on Delaware Avenue at 6 p.m.

 

 

Source:http://news.wbfo.org/post/town-hall-meeting-address-keep-it-made-america

Will shale gas decimate China’s toy makers?

reuters

By Clyde Russell Reuters

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – Such is the impact of the shale gas revolution in the United States that it’s quite possible that babies born today will no longer play with plastic dolls and cars made in China.

It’s almost become a fait accompli that China is the world’s factory, but the early warning signs that this may be changing are starting to show.

The advent of cheap natural gas in the U.S. is threatening to displace expensive naphtha in the production of petrochemicals, the key building blocks for plastics, synthetic fibres and solvents and cleaners.

While the shale gas boom is certainly no longer a secret, up to now its main impact has been in displacing coal in power generation in the U.S., and making inroads as both a heating and transport fuel.

While the U.S. is planning to export some of its shale bounty as liquefied natural gas, in effect it is already exporting more energy in the form of coal, which has helped keep Asian prices soft even in the face of record Chinese and Indian imports.

The same sort of dynamic is likely to start hitting the Asian petrochemical sector in the next few years, as U.S. output ramps up on the back of cheap natural gas and producers from India to China struggle to compete given their reliance on oil-derived naphtha.

Read more of this post

US Swipes at China for Hacking Allegations

chinese

The U.S. has taken its first real swipe at China following accusations that the Beijing government is behind a widespread and systemic hacking campaign targeting U.S. businesses.

Buried in a spending bill signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday is a provision that effectively bars much of the federal government from buying information technology made by companies linked to the Chinese government.

It’s unclear what impact the legislation will have, or whether it will turn out to be a symbolic gesture. The provision only affects certain non-defense government agency budgets between now and Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends. It also allows for exceptions if an agency head determines that buying the technology is “in the national interest of the United States.”

Still, the rule could upset U.S. allies whose businesses rely on Chinese manufacturers for parts and pave the way for broader, more permanent changes in how the U.S. government buys technology.

“This is a change of direction,” said Stuart Baker, a former senior official at the Homeland Security Department now with the legal firm Steptoe and Johnson in Washington. “My guess is we’re going to keep going in this direction for a while.”

In March, the U.S. computer security firm Mandiant released details on what it said was an aggressive hacking campaign on American businesses by a Chinese military unit. Since then, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has used high-level meetings with Beijing officials to press the matter. Beijing has denied the allegations.

Congressional leaders have promised to push comprehensive legislation that would make it easier for industry to share threat data with the government. But those efforts have been bogged down amid concerns that too much of U.S. citizens’ private information could end up in the hands of the federal government.

As Congress and privacy advocates debate a way ahead, lawmakers tucked “section 516” into the latest budget resolution, which enables the government to pay for day-to day operations for the rest of the fiscal year. The provision specifically prohibits the Commerce and Justice departments, NASA and the National Science Foundation from buying an information technology system that is “produced, manufactured or assembled” by any entity that is “owned, operated or subsidized” by the People’s Republic of China.

The agencies can only acquire the technology if, in consulting with the FBI, they determine that there is no risk of “cyberespionage or sabotage associated with the acquisition of the system,” according to the legislation.

The move might sound like a no-brainer. If U.S. industry and intelligence officials are right, and China is stealing America’s corporate secrets at a breathtaking pace, why reward Beijing with lucrative U.S. contracts? Furthermore, why install technical equipment that could potentially give China a secret backdoor into federal systems?

But a blanket prohibition on technology made by the Chinese government may be easier said than done. Information systems are often a complicated assembly of parts manufactured by different companies around the globe. And investigating where each part came from, and if that part is made by a company that could have ties to the Chinese government could be difficult.

Depending on how the Obama administration interprets the law, Baker said it could cause problems for the U.S. with the World Trade Organization, whose members include U.S. allies like Germany and Britain that might rely on Chinese technology to build computers or handsets.

But in the end, Baker says it could make the U.S. government safer and wiser.

“We do have to worry about buying equipment from companies that may not have our best interests at heart,” he said.

———

Follow Anne Flaherty on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty.

Also Read

 

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-swipes-china-hacking-allegations-193407762.html

China in world’s top five arms exporters

By Michael Martina | Reuters

China Arms

(Reuters) – China has become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, a respected Sweden-based think-tank said on Monday, its highest ranking since the Cold War, with Pakistan the main recipient.

China’s volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent compared with the previous five-year period, with its share of the global arms trade rising from 2 percent to 5 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

China replaces Britain in the top five arms-dealing countries between 2008 and 2012, a group dominated by the United States and Russia, which accounted for 30 percent and 26 percent of weapons exports, SIPRI said.

“China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states,” Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, said in a statement.

The shift, outlined in SIPRI’s Trends in International Arms Transfers report, marks China’s first time as a top-five arms exporter since the think-tank’s 1986-1990 data period.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about the report, said China was a responsible arms exporter which strictly adhered to international law.

Read more of this post

Obama Push on Advanced Manufacturing Stirs Economic Debate

In a White House switch, pro-manufacturing advisers have the ear of the president.

Jobs plan: President Obama addressing manufacturing workers in 2012.

Before a packed arena at the national convention of the Democratic Party in September, Barack Obama outlined a vision for America’s economic recovery with manufacturing as its engine.

“After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two-and-a-half years,” Obama told the cheering crowd in Charlotte, North Carolina. “If we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.”

To fulfill those promises, the White House is turning to an economic tool not seen in Washington for years: industrial policy.

Emboldened by a new cadre of advisors, the Obama administration has proposed policies to boost domestic manufacturing involving tax breaks, new R&D spending, and vocational training of two million workers including around advanced technologies like batteries, computing, aerospace, and robotics.

Read more of this post

Is The U.S. Really Losing Its Innovative Edge?

Guest post written by Gerard J. Tellis

Gerard J. Tellis is Neely Chair of American Enterprise, Director of the Center for Global Innovation, and Professor of Marketing, Management and Organization at the USC Marshall School of Business. His forthcoming book is Unrelenting Innovation: How to Create a Culture of Market Dominance.

Gerard J. Tellis

Innovation is critical for the improvement in consumer living standards, the growth and success of firms, and the wealth of nations. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. surpassed Great Britain as the world’s premier economy on the strength of its innovations. These innovations spanned a wide spectrum of industries. Innovations flourished in a variety of heavy industries such as aeronautics, automobiles, defense, communications, electricity and power generation. Innovations likewise blossomed in consumer goods and services such as soap, photography, shaving and entertainment. The U.S. also pioneered innovations in university education, land ownership, home ownership and individual rights. The U.S. lead in innovation lasted through most of the 20th century.

 

 

Is the U.S. now losing its edge in innovation?

Read more of this post

U.S. Affirms Steep Tariffs on China Solar Panels

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

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration upheld steep tariffs on Chinese solar panelsWednesday, finding that improper trade practices have undermined an American solar industry that the largest U.S. manufacturer says is in the midst of collapse.

In one of the largest trade cases the U.S. has pursued against the Asian superpower, the Commerce Department said China’s government is subsidizing companies that are flooding the U.S. market with low-cost products — a tactic known as “dumping.” To counteract those price cuts, the U.S. government imposed tariffs ranging from 18 percent to nearly 250 percent.

For some Chinese companies, those tariffs are lower than preliminary tariffs imposed in May.

Still, another set of duties dealing with improper subsidies was increased dramatically. While the initial ruling levied anti-subsidy fees ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.7 percent, the final ruling issued Wednesday sets those fees at 14.8 percent to 16 percent.

Read more of this post

California to Vote on GMO Food Labeling

Californians are on course to vote whether genetically modified food must be labeled. A petition was signed by 971,126 Californians, 75 percent more than the minimum needed for a statewide vote concurrent with the Nov. 6 general election.

Approval from 50 percent of voters would make the proposal law.

“The right to know is as American as apple pie,” said Gary Ruskin, an Oakland-based proponent for the measure, officially known as Proposition 37.

The California movement is mobilizing consumer unease over modified ingredients, which are found in about 80 percent of processed foods in the U.S. according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The campaign is the best chance for biotech labeling in the U.S. after the failure of similar bills in 19 states and the rejection of a petition to the Food and Drug Administration last month, Ruskin said.

Monsanto, a multinational agriculture biotech company, opposes labeling modified ingredients because the move risks “misleading consumers into thinking products are not safe when in fact they are,” Sara E. Miller, a spokeswoman for St. Louis-based Monsanto, said in an e-mail.

Biotech labeling, which has been adopted in more than 50 countries, has never been endorsed by the FDA.

Modified foods have been in U.S. grocery stores since 1994. Ninety-three percent of Americans say genetically engineered foods should be labeled, according to an October 2010 poll conducted by Thompson Reuters Corp. and National Public Radio. Seventy-nine percent have doubts about the safety of such foods, according to the poll.

Should it be approved, Proposition 37 would require labels of foods made with biotech ingredients to state that they were “produced with genetic engineering.” Labels would be phased in over 18 months. Exemptions include restaurant food, alcohol and meat from animals fed with modified grains.

The label “would be the equivalent of a skull and crossbones” that would drive away customers and force food producers to stop using engineered ingredients, Joseph Mercola, the initiative’s leading funder with $800,000 in donations, said in a Web posting. Mercola is an osteopath who promotes natural remedies at his clinic in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

“Whether or not you believe agricultural chemicals belong in a wholesome diet is beside the point,” said Mercola. “You still ought to have the right to decide whether you want to spend your money on foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.”

Popular New York Times food writer Mark Bittman says Proposition 37 will give consumers the basic right to know what they are eating.

“We have a right to know what’s in the food we eat and a right to know how it’s produced,” he wrote in a recent column. “This is true even if food containing or produced using GMOs (genetically modified organisms) were the greatest thing since crusty bread.”

© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Read more: Calif. to Vote on GMO Food Labeling

China’s “wild east” drug store

reuters

Philippe Andre, a detective in the murky world of Chinese pharmaceuticals, has some alarming tales to tell.

In May last year, he visited a factory an hour outside Shanghai that supposedly produced a pharmaceutical ingredient. While shown around by men wearing protective clothing and spotless hard hats, Andre noticed oddities: the floor was immaculately clean and some workers sat around idle.

The factory had an inspection log that spanned eight years with perfect record-keeping, but the handwriting was the same for all those years and not a single page was dog-eared. What’s more, while the factory had equipment to dry its product, there were no connecting pipes to funnel steam or waste gases out of the plant.

“Obviously the product was not made there,” said Andre, a Belgian who runs a pharmaceutical auditing firm in the eastern Chinese city of Tianjin that advises foreign drug companies buying ingredients in China. The building, he says, was just one of the “showroom” factories intended to disguise China’s thriving industry in substandard and counterfeit drugs.

Four years ago, Beijing promised to clean up its act following the deaths of at least 149 Americans who received contaminated Chinese supplies of the blood-thinner heparin. But an examination by Reuters has found that unregulated Chinese chemical companies making active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) are still selling their products on the open market with few or no checks.

Interviews with more than a dozen API producers and brokers indicate drug ingredients are entering the global supply chain after being made with no oversight from China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), and with no Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification, an internationally recognized standard of quality assurance.

“There is falsification of APIs going on, we know it,” said Lembit Rago, coordinator for Quality Assurance and Safety in Medicines with the World Health Organisation (WHO). “The regulated markets like Europe and the United States are relatively safe because they have well-resourced regulatory authorities. But the situation is different in places like Africa, where there are a lot of local medicine manufacturers who all use APIs from China.”

The export of unregulated drug ingredients may be putting lives at risk, particularly in poor countries where local pharmaceutical controls are minimal. Medicines containing faulty active ingredients or the wrong dose do not work properly and can contribute to the emergence of drug-resistant strains of dangerous diseases, such as malaria.

DOMINANT PRODUCER

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: