Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, October 5, 2022

President Obama to Host ‘Insourcing American Jobs’ Forum 

During his weekly address last Saturday, the President announced that he will be hosting an "Insourcing American Jobs" forum at the White House on Wednesday to hear from business leaders who are bringing jobs back home and help other companies do the same. The President characterized the event as "a make or break moment for the middle class and all those working to get there." Also included in this feature are comments from several of the Digital Manufacturing Report's regular contributors.

During his weekly address on Saturday, Jan. 7, President Obama announced that he will be hosting an "Insourcing American Jobs" forum this Wednesday at the White House.

Said the President, "…the most important thing we need to do is get more Americans back to work. And over the past three years, we've made steady progress. We just learned that our economy added 212,000 private sector jobs in December. After losing more than 8 million jobs in the recession, we've added more than 3 million private sector jobs over the past 22 months. And we're starting 2012 with manufacturing on the rise and the American auto industry on the mend.

"We're heading in the right direction. And we're not going to let up. On Wednesday the White House will host a forum called 'Insourcing American Jobs.' We'll hear from business leaders who are bringing jobs back home and see how we can help other businesses follow their lead.

"Because this is a make or break moment for the middle class and all those working to get there. We've got to keep at it. We've got to keep creating jobs. And we've got to keep rebuilding our economy so that everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share – and everyone plays by the same rules. We can't go back to the days when the financial system was stacking the deck against ordinary Americans. To me, that's not an option. Not after all we've been through."

Digital Manufacturing Report Contributors Comment

Several of our regular contributors commented on the President's insourcing forum initiative. Here's what they had to say:

Jon Riley, Vice President, Digital Manufacturing at the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, commented, "For the past decade far too many have simply decried the negative impacts of outsourced American manufacturing jobs due to globalization without a strong national effort targeting the converse dimension of insourcing. As a nation we need to implement the incentives, address regulations where appropriate and compete to insource manufacturing jobs."

Riley adds, "While we have seen jobs leave for Brazil, Mexico, China and India, we have not fully recognized the number of jobs from companies like Toyota, BMW and Michelin that are now here in our country. I would welcome a bipartisan exercise to help build up our national muscle (and pride) to help us compete for insourced manufacturing jobs, both from American manufactures such as Caterpillar, GE and GM, and the numerous foreign-headquartered multinational manufacturers. Our nation can compete; our nation can win."

Earl J. Dodd, CEO of Ideas and Machines, notes that insourcing U.S. manufacturing jobs is more than just one of the tools America has to address the globalization debate and return jobs to American soil. "It highlights our willingness, capability, and capacity for economic security," he says. "I call this the ‘Destination America Imperative.'

"U.S. insourcing must be a deliberate collaboration among employers, employees, labor unions, investors and consumers," Dodd continues. "Our focus must be on US manufacturing insourcing as 'job renewal,' complemented with coordinated and timely public policies and the retraining and skills development of the American workforce. America is not only a global competitor for jobs. This country must also remain a competitive location for international investment. Insourced job policies must be coupled with effective capital investments to create, sustain and retain America's Innovation Engine."

Addison Snell, CEO, Intersect360, comments, "President Obama makes special note of manufacturing, especially automotive manufacturing, in his announcement of the forum for the "insourcing" of American jobs. This is an interesting follow-on to the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership announced last July. In addition to traditional manufacturing jobs, there is a great need right now for engineers with digital manufacturing skills, from the entry-level through the high end."

Notes Snell, "Getting more computer-savvy students into digital manufacturing, as opposed to social networking or app development, would pay long-term dividends for manufacturing in America."

William Feiereisen of Intel and the University of New Mexico, had this to say: "In economically important fields like manufacturing, health care or energy, technical computing has become essential to most high value jobs. It turns data into information for profitable decision making. Providing the computing tools, and the highly qualified workforce to wield them, is one of the major challenges ­– and opportunities – facing American manufacturing. In order to move ahead of the international pack, we have two tasks ahead of us. We must make the technology of technical computing easier to use and more accessible to the general workforce. And we must support the focused educational programs that teach them how to use it."

Cynthia Mcintyre, a senior vice president at the Council on Competitiveness, focused on the impact of these kinds of initiatives on the "missing middle." She notes, "Today there is a growing recognition of the importance of American small and medium-sized manufacturers. With key technical skills, flexibility, and a high capacity for innovation, these companies are well positioned to leverage high fidelity modeling and simulation and in so doing encourage the insourcing of jobs. Modeling and simulation represent the highest levels of manufacturing sophistication and greater adoption and use of these tools will provide a sustainable benefit to our economy."

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