Obama names co-chairs for White House Office of Manufacturing Policy

December 13, 2011

President Barack Obama announced on Monday, December 12, that Secretary John Bryson would join National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling as co-chair of the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy, according to a release from the White House.

The Office of Manufacturing Policy is part of the National Economic Council in the White House and operates across government agencies to help coordinate the execution of manufacturing programs and the development of policy in this sector.

"At this make or break time for the middle class and our economy, we need a strong manufacturing sector that will put Americans back to work making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America," said President Obama. "I am grateful that Secretary Bryson and Gene Sperling will head up this office to continue our efforts to revitalize this great American industry and fight for American workers and jobs."

Sperling noted that John Bryson would bring decades of business leadership and a strong understanding and passion for manufacturing to the position, a contention that the appointee confirmed in a statement.

"Supporting the manufacturing sector will further our ability to innovate at home and compete around the world while generating more high-wage American jobs," Secretary Bryson said following the appointment.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the new appointment would expand upon the old position of "manufacturing czar," as new resources are being directed to the sector in order to stimulate a revival of the industry.

According to the newspaper, Bryson is expected to give a speech to kick off the White House initiative, as the next steps for American manufacturing will be outlined in order to provide direction for the country.

Though the appointment by Obama will affect national policy and influence the entire country, specific states like Pennsylvania have also enacted changes to help foster regional growth.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, recognizing the value that manufacturing brings to the state's economy, announced the formation of a Team Pennsylvania Foundation-led organization, the Governor's Manufacturing Advisory Council. Their mission is to identify and prioritize issues that would influence and sustain the sector in the commonwealth, according to Team PA News.

"Manufacturing adds more than $75 billion in value each year to our state’s economy," Corbett said, noting "it is paramount that we do all that we can to preserve and support that sector of our economy. The council will research issues and make recommendations that will further strengthen that industry and ultimately allow manufacturers to add jobs for Pennsylvanians."

Matt Zieger, president and chief executive officer for Team PA, noted that the Governor's Manufacturing Advisory Council consists of 23 members from the industry.

"The council has a two-fold mission," Zieger said. "They are being charged to determine regulatory or economic roadblocks that impede growth factors and to identify ways to market the attributes that make Pennsylvania a great place for manufacturers to do business."

"The fact that there is this much attention at the state and federal level on the topic to increase U.S. Manufacturing is precedent setting," said Joseph J. Houldin, CEO for DVIRC. "While discussions at this level don’t always lead to action in the short term, it has to start somewhere. Bottom line – this is a very good thing."