This morning, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson delivered remarks at an upstate New York manufacturing summit hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) at RIT’s Center for Student Innovation. He delivered the keynote address, discussing the administration’s initiatives to help businesses “build it here and sell it everywhere” around the world. Rochester, New York, has a long tradition of leadership in manufacturing and technology. Fueled by a well-educated workforce and commitment to entrepreneurship, Rochester has provided a great example of what American innovation can bring to the U.S. economy.
While in Rochester, the Secretary had a chance to tour RIT’s construction of their brand new facility, where students will soon be performing cutting-edge research in sustainability. The Commerce Department helped make this facility possible through a $13.1 million grant from Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
In the afternoon, the Secretary visited a business called Schlegel Systems, Inc., a company that specializes in seals, gaskets and brushes for the building products, automotive and copier industries. The Commerce Department’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) in New York is working with Schlegel Systems, Inc. to accelerate new products into the marketplace and expand their markets, along with many other companies. Recent annual data shows that businesses that teamed up with the New York MEP had over $400 million in sales, helping to keep or create nearly 4,000 jobs.Programs like MEP are helping boost U.S. manufacturers around the country. About 70 percent of America’s private sector research and development and about 90 percent of our patents are in manufacturing. After a decade in which we lost nearly six million manufacturing jobs, the U.S. now added nearly half a million in the past 25 months—over 120,000 of those came in the first three months of this year. Importantly, these are high-paying jobs with good benefits.
The Secretary also emphasized the need to increase U.S. exports. In 2011, the U.S. had an all-time record of $2.1 trillion in exports. In New York alone, about $70 billion in goods were exported in 2010. Last year, that jumped to $83 billion. Furthermore, the Commerce Department just reported that, from 2009 to 2011, the number of export-supported jobs increased by 1.2 million. That’s important because—like manufacturing—these tend to be good-paying jobs, as well. The Secretary explained his goals to empower more U.S. companies to increase their exports by spreading the word on government resources that are available, continuing trade missions, and making sure to level the playing field for U.S. businesses in the global economy.
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