Calling all local officials and entrepreneurs! Imagine high-tech, well paying jobs coming to rural America. It’s not impossible and in fact it’s already happening. A recent webinar entitled “An American Economy Built to Last: Advanced Manufacturing in Rural America” and hosted by USDA’s Rural Development provided a tool kit for attracting Advanced Manufacturing operations to rural communities. Among the presenters, an industry representative described how the world’s largest semi-conductor chip-maker scouts locations in rural America to set up advanced manufacturing facilities and even shared a sort of “check list” that his company uses when evaluating a particular area. Officials from USDA Rural Development and the Department of Commerce itemized government programs and financing that can be leveraged to make one’s community more attractive, particularly to this type of investment.
A success story shared on the webinar involved the small town of Martinsville in rural Virginia that has had one of the highest unemployment rates in the State. RTI Metals, based outside of Virginia has a global network. It manufactures high-tech titanium products for aerospace and military applications. After using USDA low-interest loans to improve their broadband network, Martinsville worked with RTI which set up shop creating about 150 jobs with an average salary of $35 an hour and a total local investment of about $100 million.
President Obama is calling for a manufacturing renaissance in the United States, and Rural America can be fertile ground for advanced manufacturing operations, bringing with it well-paying jobs and considerable local investment. That’s why the President laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. The President will continue to work to bring about a new era of American manufacturing, with more good jobs and more products with the label “Made in the USA.”
I encourage you to take a look, and listen to this truly eye-opening webinar and pass it along to anyone interested in job growth and economic development.