A new bipartisan panel of state lawmakers called The Manufacturing Caucus will take a look at spurring New Jersey's manufacturing sector to help bring it into the 21st century.

State Sen. Bob Gordon, D- is the caucus chairman. Their first meeting was in Paterson, the historic birthplace of Jersey manufacturing. Gordon says they will meet monthly.

"Our challenge is to implement policies that will make New Jersey more competitive in this area."

According to Gordon, manufacturing is still alive and well, but it has changed significantly over the years. The senator's family manufactured yarns in Paterson for several generations.

He says there are a lot of good-paying manufacturing jobs that require specific skills. People who have not completed college but have trained beyond high school.

"These are the kind of people that pharmaceutical firms are looking for — electronic firms, healthcare organizations," he says.

"Our challenge is to implement policies that will make New Jersey more competitive in this area, for the purpose of jump-starting our growth and job-creation in this state, and that was the idea behind the manufacturing caucus."

Gordon says the caucus will meet again next month.

"The jobs pay well. The average pay for a manufacturing job is over $90,000 a year. And we expect a number of these industries to experience great growth."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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