The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) recently unveiled a major new directive in continuing the resurgence of manufacturing in the United States. Titled The Manufacturing Mandate, it is a sweeping plan outlining just which areas of economic and industrial development are required to allow manufacturing and, by extension, the U.S. economy, to achieve their full potential in the global marketplace. The entire document is well worth your time to read, but here is a summary of the three most important factors on the manufacturing front.

Innovation. When both the perception and the actuality of American manufacturing began to decline, price was not the only issue at hand. A major problem was that innovation, too, was heading overseas, with many new products, concepts, and methods being developed and perfected elsewhere. Innovation in manufacturing leads to innovation across other industries. Keeping research and development and manufacturing itself hand-in-hand allows for breakthroughs that may not have otherwise occurred.

Global Competitiveness. Manufacturing comprises nearly 60% of U.S. exports – nearly $ 1.7 trillion. It only makes sense for officials at all levels to create an environment supportive of manufacturing. Infrastructure and other cost burdens can make it difficult to thrive as compared with other business sectors, so special care must be taken that the needs of all parties are addressed – manufacturers, workers, and communities.

“Smartforce.” This concept is the successor to simply developing a workforce. The manufacturing innovation mentioned above makes it necessary to ensure that workers are gaining the proper skills to be a productive part of the new manufacturing landscape. There are more than 11 million manufacturing employees in the U.S. (and more than 7 million people employed in ancillary roles), but 310,000 job openings remain. Training must be provided, and the benefits of employment in one of these positions must become more apparent.