Maufacturing still ‘alive and well’ in New Jersey
Friday is National Manufacturing Day, and New Jersey companies are marking the occasion by debunking the myth that manufacturing in the Garden State is dead.
John W. Kennedy, CEO of The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, said the program is designed to promote the manufacturing industry in the state and the "Made in New Jersey" label. He says manufacturing is alive and well both in the Garden State and the nation.
"There is still about 11,000 companies that do some type of manufacturing in New Jersey and they bring in about $42 billion annually into our state coffers," Kennedy said. "Manufacturing in New Jersey is certainly not dead by any stretch of the imagination."
Kennedy said New Jersey is what you call a "supply chain state." That means we supply a lot of components for aerospace projects and drones.
Among the many, "made in New Jersey" brands here: Manischewitz, Arizona Ice Tea, Bosco and Chanel. Kent bicycles makes over 3.5 million bikes a year, which are sold are stores such as Walmart or a Toys-R-Us.
According to Kennedy, while it is true that manufacturing slipped in recent years, New Jersey and the U.S as a whole are still at or near the top in world manufacturing output. He says manufacturing here has evolved over the years.
"You are talking about high-tech and engineering and the ability to program something and create something," Kennedy said. "To me it is tremendously exciting."
When it comes to getting younger people interested in manufacturing, Kennedy says there are great STEM programs, not only in our schools, but in our Boys and Girls clubs, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
The mission of the STEM Scholars Program is to provide science, technology, engineering and math immersion for promising urban students in order to enhance their STEM subject knowledge, as well as support their matriculation into college and careers in STEM fields. STEM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.