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Economic Development Corporation Brings Local Manufacturing From Darkness To The Light

 

(Jim Coleman, President & CEO of the EDC with the EDC team along with  Innovative Manufacturing Roundtable participants)Largo, MD - On Friday, innovative and advanced manufacturing took center stage in Prince George's County as the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) launched its first 'Innovative Manufacturing Roundtable', connecting advanced manufacturer challenges to public sector problem solvers.  This roundtable represents the first of many forums geared towards providing the manufacturing industry, government agencies and the education community with the opportunity to come together to form a 'think tank' that jumpstarts growth, expansion and prosperity in innovative and advanced manufacturing in Prince George's County. Top manufacturing companies connected with public sector 'problem solvers' as well as officials from the Prince George's Community College and the Prince George's County Public Schools to discuss opportunities for the manufacturers to increase their productivity and to build up the pipeline of employees for the manufacturing supply chain. EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman welcomed the participants and encouraged them to take advantage of the resources that each stake holder in the room represented to expand and increase their bottom lines.
 
"Today is just the beginning of great things to come for manufacturing in Prince George's County," said Coleman. "Our goal is to explore the opportunities that exist in innovative manufacturing and to encourage investment and support of these forward thinking companies.  Ultimately, we want to be ready to invite more innovative manufacturers to the County, to help our existing manufacturers to expand and grow, and to bring more good, high-wage jobs to the residents of Prince George's County."
 
Top officials from Eaton Aerospace, Local Motors, U.S. Medical Innovations, LLC, and Alertus Technologies kicked off the Roundtable Discussion by giving a brief overview of their companies and then sharing what their top challenges are in keeping their companies on the cutting edge.  Some of the companies expressed concerns about inventory management, supply chain and shipping logistics or ways to reduce energy and manufacturing costs.  One thread that seemed universal throughout the conversation was the need for high quality skilled labor.  Craig Skelly, Operations Manager from Eaton Aerospace in Beltsville, Maryland was pleased to see so many people with a passion for manufacturing. 
 
"Today was a very exciting event, and the Roundtable was fantastic," said Skelly.  "Going around to job fairs, you often don't see people interested in manufacturing.  It was great to see so many partners here today with a passion for manufacturing and who can connect us with top talent."
 
As the innovative and advanced manufacturers focused on not falling behind in manufacturing, the solution providers highlighted the resources and programs that are available to the manufacturing industry to ensure that there is a solid pipeline of employees trained to work in advanced manufacturing. The solution providers at the Roundtable included the EDC, the Maryland Department of Commerce, the Regional Manufacturing Institute, the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the Made In America Initiative representatives. Through their dialogue, it became apparent that many of the resources that support innovative manufacturing are unknown in the manufacturing community.   
 
"I think Prince George's County is doing something that every region in the State of Maryland should do with this Roundtable," said Peter Gourlay, Vice President of the Regional Manufacturing Institute. "Manufacturing is the industry that gives a pathway to middle-class America. Prince George's County has done a phenomenal job of bringing some great advanced manufacturers in the room with all the resources that can help; from the public sector, the academic sector, the government sector - both in the County and the State  Department of Commerce."
 
Manufacturers also heard from Kristen Shock, Senior Director of Strategic Industries and Entrepreneurship at the Maryland Department of Commerce who walked the participants through Governor Hogan's new More Jobs for Marylanders Act.  This new provision encourages additional investment in new equipment through accelerated and bonus depreciation and strengthens Maryland's workforce through State investment in workforce scholarships and apprenticeship programs. 
 
Lateefah Durant, Director of Career Readiness and Innovative Programs for the Prince George's County Public Schools and John Deadwyler, Program Coordinator for the Prince George's Community College shared their ability to develop customized curriculum for internships as well as connect companies to future talent.
 
"We are looking forward to great things to come in the innovative manufacturing industry," said John Mason, EDC Business Development Director for Manufacturing. "We are just at the tip of the iceberg of collaboration that will not only sustain but exponentially grow this industry in Prince George's County. Our discussion revealed specifically how solution providers can help our thriving companies grow, create more jobs and provide stellar opportunities for residents."
 
For more information about innovative and advanced manufacturing collaboration with local academic institutions, contact EDC Business Development Director, John Mason (jamason@co.pg.md.us) at 301-583-4650.