Obama’s State of the Union Address this year was a steady dopamine drip for me: “We have cleared away the rubble of crisis … making America a magnet for manufacturing … a once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.” And be-still-my-heart: “we are finally poised to control our own energy future.” He might have well described the Emerald City, as far as I was concerned.
I think it’s important to try and understand what exactly these “state-of-the art labs” or “manufacturing hubs” will be like and the direct role they play in employing more Americans while also making manufacturing processes smarter.
The aim of these hubs is to put smart, entrepreneurial people together with advanced manufacturing technology to come up with applications for that technology. Those applications will reduce waste in manufacturing processes, which will mean that U.S. manufacturers can charge less for their services. With new technology comes the need for newly skilled workers to wield it properly. So it’s a smart growth strategy: reduce the bottom line and increase profit; take profit and reinvest it in the company’s growth (i.e. adding employees).