Keeping New Jersey Manufacturers in the Running

NJ Manufacturers are vital to the economic success of our state and exciting changes are on the horizon. Many of our state’s manufacturers are facing challenges that may impact their ability to be locally profitable and globally competitive. However, help is on the way, from a host of NJ organizations dedicated to the success of our manufacturing sector.


Lisë Stewart: Hello, I'm Lisë Stewart from the Center for Family Business Excellence. And I'm so delighted today to be able to introduce you to my friend and colleague, John Kennedy. John is the CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program. And we're really delighted because we believe that manufacturing is extremely important not only to the country, but very important here in New Jersey. And the New Jersey MEP is doing some fantastic things, so really delighted you could come in today and talk to us a little bit about the program and what you do and some of the issues that are facing manufacturers here. Just to kick us off, many years ago, well, actually, just a number of years ago, the manufacturing extension partnership under the national institute of standards and technology, which is a mouthful, commissioned a study that showed that there were a number of challenges that US manufacturers are facing. We're really talking about small manufacturers here. And those were things such as access to a skilled workforce, access to capital, being able to understand the impacts of technologies such as advanced manufacturing, succession planning, etcetera. So, I'm just curious from your perspective, what are some of the challenges you're seeing that New Jersey manufacturers are facing?

John Kennedy: Well, it's all the same thing, Lisë, you know, I mean, being a former manufacturer, we have some of the same issues that have existed for many, many years. Talent is number one. Lack of talent. We've created a dearth of pathways for young people, and things have changed over the last couple of years. In the sense, that manufacturing is much more in the news, as you know, and the president has been pushing that as part of his agenda. That's all good, but reality is states have to get along with the two. In New Jersey, we're actually having some pretty good success with the last couple of years. We have a manufacturing caucus made up legislators, and that is something that never existed before. And we also built the policy team we'll be seeing later today, which is parts of the governor's office, the EDA, department of education. So at least we're back in the conversation and that's half of the battle. But, the basic problems, you know still exist because that those are basic business problems. You guys know it as well as I do.

Lisë Stewart is Principal-in-Charge of EisnerAmper’s Center for Family Business Excellence within the Private Business Services Practice. Lisë has experience in organizational development, strategic planning and training, and human performance management.

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