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Washington Needs to Refocus on Manufacturing Jobs | Commentary

Improving the outdated, negative perception of manufacturing among teachers, parents and guidance counselors and making a sustained effort to deliver updated skills for advanced manufacturing can make a meaningful difference.

Second, itís critical that we fight for a more level global playing field. Manufacturing supports 60 percent of all U.S. exports ó we canít tolerate unfair trade practices that harm American workers and families, from currency manipulation to stealing our inventions to unfair dumping in American markets of subsidized foreign products.

Third, we need to make it easier for manufacturers ó especially new and small businesses ó to access capital and invest in research and development, as well as new equipment and products. Only by continually reinvesting in new processes and new products will our manufacturers continue to be the most productive in the world and able to sustain the high pay and benefits that American manufacturing workers deserve.

Fourth, we can do more to ensure a coordinated government-wide effort in support of manufacturing by insisting on a national manufacturing strategy. Whether in infrastructure, in energy or in education, we should gear our policies toward prioritizing the creation of manufacturing jobs. The impact on our economy will mean good jobs in the short term and economic security and growth in the long term.

The Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative is a broad collection of measures supported by many senators, rather than one comprehensive bill. By working in a bipartisan way to strengthen manufacturing, we can build confidence that Congress can indeed work together in the national interest and lay the foundation for a sustained revival of manufacturing that will benefit all Americans.

Sen. Chris Coons is a Democrat from Delaware.

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