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The Voice of Minnesota Manufacturers

The following story describes results from The State of Manufacturing®, an extensive research project sponsored by Enterprise Minnesota and its partners.

Over the last six years, Enterprise Minnesota and its partners have commissioned a comprehensive survey to get a pulse on the “State of Manufacturing” in Minnesota. The research results are a culmination of “Minnesota’s manufacturing executives’ attitudes about the economy, their sales prospects, their workforce needs and the impacts of international trade, and a variety of other topics.”

A sample of the findings highlighted below, show the issues executives face in today’s 21st century manufacturing  environment. We wanted to share this with our customers, as we believe they too are likely experiencing similar issues. Of the manufacturers who participated in the statewide survey and focus groups, 84% are confident about their company’s future – more than any point in time since 2009. Almost half (45%) of manufacturers expect increases in the gross revenues in 2014, with about 35% expecting profits to increase. As in previous years of the State of Manufacturing research results, the cost of health care coverage tops the list of manufacturer concerns at 58%.

Also with little surprise, “workforce issues dominated the conversations in focus groups held in Greater Minnesota, while manufacturers across the state recognized the growing schism of workforce issues between manufacturers located in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and those in Greater Minnesota.” While a difficult issue for all manufacturers, those located in Greater Minnesota seem to be having a tougher time.

Manufacturers, as a whole, are deeply concerned about the few numbers of young people who are attracted to the well-paying jobs associated with modern manufacturing. Also topping the list of concerns, manufacturers are seeing an increasing lack of basic soft-skill priorities – getting to work on time, showing up for work, and a lackadaisical, short-term commitment to their jobs.

All of the participants realize their concerns are nearly identical across all sectors of manufacturing and understand the need to become one voice. They recognize and appreciate the many educators – typically guided by a strong and engaged local technical-vocational school – who are aggressively participating in addressing the workforce shortage issue, making every effort to respond to the needs of manufacturers.

Positive results highlighted where focus groups of Greater Minnesota leaders, including the Alexandria community, discussed how they are building public/private partnerships to help alleviate workforce concerns. We’re proud to share other articles in this newsletter that illustrate the contributions and commitments Alexandria Industries has made to our local area high school, including donating manufacturing equipment, participating in course instruction and helping to develop curriculum. We also work to instill values, such as integrity and commitment to excellence, in our youth, showing them by example that these character attributes will serve them well throughout their entire lives.

For more detailed information on the research visit: Enterprise Minnesota – State of Manufacturing.