The Southern Governors’ Association released a report that says collaborative implementation of a regional advanced manufacturing strategy in the American South could help the region in realizing its economic potential.
The SGA had commissioned the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) to do an economic analysis of a regional approach for supporting advanced manufacturing.
MAPI’s senior economist Cliff Waldman and co-authors Matthew N. Murray and Howard H. Baker Jr. undertook a study of seven states (Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky) as a representative sample of the 16 states and two territories that are included in the SGA membership.
The report they produced, titled “Advanced Manufacturing in the American South: An Economic Analysis Supporting Regional Development” includes the following key findings:-
- A cluster strategy is suggested as the appropriate framework for nurturing the evolution of the American South’s advanced manufacturing sector;
- Investments for developing science and technical education are suggested to help the region overcome labor force gaps and innovation deficits;
- Advanced manufacturing has to be considered in the larger context of regional economic development needs such as infrastructure, R&D, and technology adoption.
- The success of the American South in promoting a low-cost strategy of economic and manufacturing advancement must be supplemented by investments to incentivize, value-added in the production process, an element of business competitiveness.
Waldman said that if the Southern states seriously considered implementing these recommendations, they would find that acting together as a region would generate far greater benefits to each state’s individual economy than if they acted alone.
The report was released by Kentucky Governor and 2013 SGA Chairman Steve Beshear during a series of weekend meetings of the Southern governors with state and federal officials, industry leaders, educators and researchers on the policy aspects of manufacturing.
Gov. Beshear said that for years, the states in the American South had competed against each other. He said that this is now a new era where the southern states are not only competing with each other and other states in the U.S., but also with the rest of the world.
He said they can compete better if the region comes together on advanced manufacturing and presents a united front, and the MAPI report could be used a tool to begin this process.
In addition to releasing the report, Gov. Beshear also announced a $400,613 grant provided to the SGA by the Atlanta office of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). This grant will be used by the SGA to establish the “Advanced Manufacturing in the American South Partnership.”
The aforementioned partnership will be a collaborative effort between educational institutions and public and private sector leaders for developing regional strategies to support manufacturing job creation and innovation.
Read the full MAPI report on advanced manufacturing in the American South – Download (pdf)