FAIRFIELD — A manufacturing forum at the Anheuser-Busch brewery Monday had a “Made in America” bent.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek, gave the keynote speech. The event also included panel discussions on manufacturing strategies and a tour of the brewery.
“We can make it in America,” Garamendi told the audience of about 80 people. “We really can. American can once again become the great manufacturing power it was — it still is, but we don’t have the same intensity we once had.”
Twenty million Americans worked in manufacturing 25 years ago, he said. That’s down to about 11.5 million.
Garamendi has proposed legislation that would require transportation projects paid for with federal tax dollars to have 85 percent of the goods and equipment used manufactured in the United States. Federal legislation for Amtrak trains had a similar clause and a company that got the work opened a manufacturing plant in Sacramento, he said.
He has proposed similar legislation for energy.
“Public policy makes a difference here,” Garamendi said.
Harry Moser spoke on behalf of Reshoring America. Its goal is to get American companies that have moved operations to other countries to return the jobs to America.
Companies went to other countries because they followed each other “like a bunch of lemmings,” Moser said. But they didn’t take a close look at the total costs, he said. He believes that 25 percent of companies that have left the United States should come back based on their total cost of ownership.
Among the group’s tools is an online total-cost-of-ownership estimator. The group also publicizes companies that return jobs to the United States in an attempt to start a trend in that direction.
About 50,000 manufacturing jobs have returned to the United States since January 2010, Moser said. He sees potential for 2 million or 3 million more.
Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States has such benefits as reducing the federal budget deficit and unemployment, Moser said. He encouraged those attending the forum to spread the word about Reshoring America. Please go to http://www.reshorenow.org for more information.
Marion Aiken of the Solano Workforce Investment Board was among those taking part in the panel discussions. He talked about the board’s role as a link between employees and the job sector.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.