Manufacturing Institute President Jennifer McNelly Highlights SLCC Excellence in Manufacturing Leadership Summit

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The Manufacturing Leadership Summit was geared to manufacturing professionals and industry educators. It outlined opportunities for the next generation of manufacturing by examining national trends and the current climate for manufacturing in the State of Utah.

Jennifer McNelly, President of the Manufacturing Institute

Jennifer McNelly, President of the Manufacturing Institute

Manufacturing has a greater economic impact than any other sector. I see the bright light of opportunity for Utah manufacturers right now. The climate is so right here.

Jennifer McNelly, President of the Manufacturing Institute provided the keynote address for SLCC’s Manufacturing Leadership Summit. Her presentation to manufacturing professionals and industry educators outlined opportunities for the next generation of manufacturing—including how to cultivate a thriving workforce and stay competitive in the 21st century. Her remarks focused both on national trends and the current climate in the State of Utah.

“Manufacturing has a greater economic impact than any other sector. I see the bright light of opportunity for Utah manufacturers right now,” McNelly said. “If we are to restore America’s prosperity, we’re right to focus on manufacturing. Utah needs to compete not only with your own state, but other states and with manufacturers across the world. You should be optimistic—the climate is so right here.”

David Bradford, Director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s IT and Software Cluster, provided remarks about what Utah manufacturing has recently done and what it is poised as a sector to do next.

“Over the period of 2007-2011, Utah manufacturing has outperformed the nation in jobs created, wage growth, and average wage for the sector,” Bradford said. “The manufacturing sector had a strong rebound in 2011, and is poised for continued growth.” Bradford cited manufacturing as vitally important to Utah’s economy because 98 percent of the sector is in what’s called ‘traded’ clusters—meaning that there are local, national, and international markets for products from this sector. “The growth rates for industries in these ‘traded clusters’ far exceeds industries that are tied only to local markets and local growth rates,” he said.

Additional workshop sessions at the Summit covered public and private partnerships that can contribute to the next generation of workforce excellence, and strategies to grow and sustain a strong manufacturing base through innovative practices.

Innovation and human capital are essential to improving any sector, according to Bradford. “Over the past 100 years, 85 percent of all economic growth has been the result of technological innovation—the way societies have more efficiently converted inputs to outputs,” he said.

Jennifer McNelly is President of The Manufacturing Institute the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). As President of the Institute, McNelly is focused on improving and expanding manufacturing in the United States through education, innovation, and research.

She is the chief architect of one of NAM's flagship initiatives, the Manufacturing Skills Certification System. A set of nationally portable, industry-recognized manufacturing skills certifications, the System is building the next generation of skilled manufacturing employees by influencing secondary and post-secondary education reform efforts in over 35 states which is building the next generation of skilled manufacturing talent.

Prior to joining the Institute, Jennifer, a member of the Senior Executive Service, was Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Regional Innovation and Transformation. She also served as the Director of the Business Relations Group for the DOL Employment and Training Administration. In this capacity, she managed the President's High-Growth Job Training Initiative and the Community-Based Job Training Grants.

The Excellence in Manufacturing Leadership Summit was sponsored by the Business and Manufacturing Leadership Institute (BMLI), at Salt Lake Community College. BMLI offers customized training, nationally acclaimed curriculum and professional certificates to give businesses and employees a competitive edge. For more information about BMLI visit http://www.mbrcslcc.com/BMLI or call 801-957-5237.

About the College: Salt Lake Community College is an accredited, student-focused, urban college meeting the diverse needs of the Salt Lake community. With more than 62,000 students enrolled each year, the College is the largest supplier of career and technical education programs in the State of Utah. The College is the sole provider of applied technology courses in the Salt Lake area, with 13 sites, an eCampus, and nearly 1,000 continuing education sites located throughout the Salt Lake valley. Personal attention from an excellent faculty is paramount at the College, which maintains a student-to-teacher ratio of less than 20 to 1.

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