TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Jim Beach to enhance advanced manufacturing in New Jersey through the creation of a council focused on facilitating partnerships between the industry and higher education was approved today by the Senate Labor Committee.
“While traditional manufacturing has declined in New Jersey and the United States over decades, advanced manufacturing is an emerging industry that already contributes billions of dollars each year to the economy in our state,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic). “In partnership with industry, our colleges and universities have the potential to establish new and innovative manufacturing prospects that will help the industry continue to grow and prosper. This council will work with businesses and colleges to develop partnerships that will advance innovation and ensure that our workforce is prepared for these highly-skilled jobs.”
“We have a tremendous amount of expertise in our state across both the public and private sectors. By facilitating information sharing and collaboration amongst state agencies, industry and higher education, we will ensure that we are building a stronger future for the advanced manufacturing industry and for our state,” said SenatorBeach (D-Camden). “The council will be focused on this important work, and on developing and recommending new ideas for expanding and promoting the industry. This will help to grow the industry and to create new, high-paying jobs.”
The bill (S1979) creates the New Jersey Advanced Manufacturing Council to convene and enable industry-led, private-public partnerships focused on engaging New Jersey institutions of higher education in manufacturing innovation. In addition, the council would design and implement an advanced manufacturing initiative to facilitate collaboration and information sharing across state departments and agencies and assist private companies to enhance technological transfer in New Jersey manufacturing industries to help companies overcome technical obstacles to scaling up production of new technologies. The council would consist of 11 members who are individuals with experience in the fields of labor, education, or workforce development or training. It would submit an annual report to the Governor, the Legislature, and the State Employment and Training Commission.
Advanced manufacturing is an emerging industry that is primarily composed of four groups: chemical manufacturing, computer and electronic product manufacturing, machinery manufacturing and transportation equipment manufacturing. It involves both new ways to manufacture existing products, and the manufacture of new products emerging from new advanced technologies. New Jersey’s advanced manufacturing industry contributed more than $17 billion to New Jersey’s Gross Domestic Product in 2009, or about 3.6 percent of all State output, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The committee approved the bill by a vote of 5-0. It next heads to the Senate for a vote.