Evidencing Tony Hwang’s commitment to manufacturing and the significant role it plays in Connecticut’s economy and job creation, the American Manufacturing Hall of Fame invited him to speak at its annual dinner earlier this month.
The American Manufacturing Hall of Fame is located at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport. Thanks to Tony’s leadership and effective advocacy, the Bridgeport-based educational institution received a portion of a $16.8 million grant to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing education facility. As Tony notes in his speech below, the facility will help meet a critical need in the manufacturing industry — education and training for highly skilled workers.
The following is the text of Tony’s speech, which he delivered at the Manufacturing Hall of Fame dinner:
It’s a pleasure for me to be here today and I would like to thank President Roop for asking me to say a few words. As many of you know, I am passionate about manufacturing, and the opportunities that manufacturing gives to the people that make up our communities.
Let me put it simply: it’s all about job creation.
You’ve all heard the often quoted statistic that one manufacturing job really creates more than 1.5 jobs in other industries or trades, or sometimes it is quoted as two non-manufacturing jobs, but in my experience, it may actually create as many as three jobs.
And that is why manufacturing is so important right now.
New job numbers came out last week and new manufacturing numbers came out this morning. I won’t bore you with statistics, but I will summarize. Manufacturers’ confidence is higher than it has been at any time since the economy crashed in 2009. That’s the good news.
But here’s the bad news. Manufacturers cite the biggest issues they are facing that are preventing them from not increasing capacity and output are no longer things they can control. It is not technology, it is not access to capital. The things they cite that are holding them back are external issues. And those issues are excessive taxation, the need for deregulation and perhaps the most important factor for us here tonight, the need to have a large number of skilled workers entering the workplace.
I and many of my colleagues hear what you are saying to us. There is now a dialogue where there was none before. We are looking at the tax issues and the regulatory restrictions and we are looking at them in detail.
I understand there is talk amongst you about creating an awareness campaign about the importance of precision manufacturing and that members of the Hall of Fame are leading that fight.
I support you. I can’t tell you how important that effort would be. That is something I can take to Hartford and show to other representatives. That is something we can show to students about their career options and to their parents.
Manufacturing is one of THE key components of a healthy community. I am honored to been asked to address you, and I will continue to work on your behalf.