Implementation of programs and funding from 2021’s historic, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is now in full swing—and manufacturers are already hard at work.
What’s going on: During discussions at an Infrastructure Week event hosted by United For Infrastructure earlier this month, leaders from Bechtel and Siemens USA discussed the significant social and economic impact of infrastructure investment.
- The Business Roundtable “commissioned a study to look at the economic impact [of] every taxpayer dollar invested in infrastructure, and we concluded that [each dollar] generates $4 in economic growth,” said Bechtel Chairman and CEO Brendan Bechtel, who is also chair of the BRT Infrastructure Committee. “We concluded that a trillion dollars in infrastructure investment over 10 years unlocks, on average, additional household disposable income of $1,800 a year for every family in the United States. Modern infrastructure creates a huge amount of social, environmental and economic benefits.” Bechtel spoke alongside Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu on a panel.
- More benefits of the investment in infrastructure are on display in the many projects of industrial technology company Siemens USA, according to the company’s Vice President and Head of U.S. Government Affairs Brie Sachse.
- Sachse discussed the recent opening of Siemens’ second U.S. electric-vehicle charging manufacturing hub in Carrollton, Texas, as well as a partnership with utility ComEd in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. There, Siemens is providing the management software for a first-of-its-kind, utility-owned microgrid cluster. “It will lead to cleaner, more reliable power for a neighborhood in the midst of revitalization,” Sachse said during a lightning round at the event. “We’re enthusiastic about the momentum to electrify America.”
Permitting reform and workforce: Both Bechtel and Sachse stressed the critical importance of filling current and future open manufacturing jobs. Bechtel echoed NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons—who spoke on an earlier panel—when he stressed the need for infrastructure-project permitting reform at the congressional level.
- “The shortage of construction workers is real. It’s the current constraint throttling how much work we feel we can responsibly commit to and deliver at once,” Bechtel said. “I think it’s the single most important thing that we can all address besides permitting reform.”
- After the event, Bechtel thanked industry allies and business leaders “for continuing to lead on improving the permitting system so we can move projects through the pipeline more efficiently.”
The power of apprenticeships: The companies are betting on apprentice programs to help fill jobs.
- Siemens recently launched an apprentice program in Wendell, North Carolina, to “support the growing EV market,” Sachse said, adding that apprenticeships like this one are “opening the door for career pathways that are both well-paying and meaningful.”
- To fill the worker shortage, “we’re doubling down on the things we know that work,” Bechtel said. For example, the company uses apprentice readiness programs, in which people are “learning while they’re earning [and] they’re accessing and accumulating health and retirement benefits that they wouldn’t otherwise.”
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org