Erica Swinney Staley, representing Manufacturing Renaissance, has been appointed to serve on a Manufacturing Panel that will advise the Biden administration on its manufacturing and economic recovery policies.
The panel was created by the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships. Staley, executive director of Manufacturing Renaissance, is the only appointee to the panel from Illinois.
The panel had its first meeting on Friday, March 26. Staley and other industry leaders and experts will share recommendations on the Biden Administration’s Made in All of America initiative and related policies through meetings with the Department of Commerce and Congressional Leadership.
“I am honored to participate on this panel to help guide resources in manufacturing and workforce development,” Staley said. “I look forward to being part of an effort that can address key issues like inclusion, industrial retention, education and training, and equity in manufacturing on the national level.”
Staley noted that this work can impact one of the biggest challenges in the world of manufacturing these days. In the Chicagoland area, there are more than 58,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs – and not enough skilled workers to fill them. “Now, and since before the pandemic, youth and young adults from low-income communities of color have not had the opportunity to learn the skills they need for good-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector,” Staley says. “We strive to create those opportunities in our work. Our country must guide resources to young people in manufacturing, and this panel can help us do that.”
Greater national focus on manufacturing and economic recovery policies is long overdue, based on what economic data shows – before and during the pandemic. Census data show that even before the pandemic (September 2019), income inequality in the United States had reached its highest level in 50 years.
Meanwhile, low-income communities of color have long been disproportionately affected by the lack of opportunity, a trend that has deepened during the pandemic.
One key goal of strong policies, Staley said, is that they will serve populations most marginalized from traditional education and workforce development programs – without putting undue burden on service providers and manufacturers who implement them.
Manufacturing Renaissance welcomes the opportunity to be part of a growing national effort to address major issues that will move this sector forward in the coming years, Staley said. In Illinois, Manufacturing Renaissance continues to engage diverse stakeholders around ideas, policies, and programs that expand equitable development around manufacturing.
The industry recovery panel features the broad involvement of leaders in this field. It is also supported by major companies and foundations, including Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and Microsoft.