Guest blog by Jennifer Pilat, Deputy Director for the Office of Advisory Committees within the International Trade Administration. She oversees the Manufacturing Council as well as a number of other private-sector advisory committees.
Superconductors and streetcars. Photovoltaic cells, cars and steel. Cardboard boxes, pharmaceuticals, linens. A vibrant manufacturing sector isn't just critical for the millions of Americans whose jobs depend on it, but is also absolutely central to driving the innovation that fuels the American economy. It is that belief that led U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to appoint the private sector members that comprise the 2010 – 2012 Manufacturing Council.
The Manufacturing Council serves as the principal private sector advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce on the United States manufacturing sector and advises the Secretary on matters relating to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, and government policies and programs that affect U.S. manufacturers.
Secretary Locke recently designated Joe Anderson, Chairman and Chief Executive Office of TAG Holdings, LLC as the Chair of the Manufacturing Council and Chandra Brown, President of United Streetcar and Vice-President of Business Development and Government Relations of Oregon Iron Works as the Council Vice-Chair.
The next Council meeting will be held in Clackamas, Oregon at the United Streetcar facility, where members will discuss the free trade agreements with Panama and Colombia, ideas for energy policy to support manufacturing, and educating and training the workforce needed to fill today’s available manufacturing jobs and those that will drive the future of American manufacturing. You can read more about the past work of the Council, on their website: http://www.manufacturing.gov/council. 
Manufacturing is a key industry in the revitalization of the U.S. economy and the growth of U.S. jobs. The United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, employing nearly 12 million Americans in the production of $1.6 trillion in manufactured products, representing 18 percent of the worlds manufactured goods. The work of the Council supports these goals by providing invaluable industry insight into the federal policymaking process.
Council members represent a broad cross section of the industry and include steel, textile, superconductor and solar panel manufacturers both large and small. Their products support a diverse range of industries such as the auto, aerospace, apparel and energy efficiency sectors.
The Department of Commerce is currently seeking applications to fill two vacant positions on the Manufacturing Council . The purpose of the Council is to advise the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector and to provide a forum for regular communication between Government and the manufacturing sector.