Mayor Cory Booker and NJIT President Joel S. Bloom
Newark has manufacturing assets, but it also faces several challenges, according to a new report by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. Mayor Cory Booker announced partnership-based commitments to capitalize on Newark’s strengths and improve its capacity for 21st-century production at an event this morning hosted by NJIT.
NJIT President Joel S. Bloom opened the program by making the case for continuing the discussion about manufacturing needs in Newark. Later in the morning, Donald H. Sebastian, senior vice president of research and development at NJIT, participated in a panel discussion moderated by Nisha Mistry, the Newark-based Brookings nonresident fellow and Mayor’s Office fellow and lead author of the report.
“Newark’s Manufacturing Competitiveness: Finding & Strategies,” provided an analysis of Newark’s manufacturing assets and challenges and offered a set of concrete strategies for improving the sector’s competitiveness. Newark is fortunate to have a prime location, rich density of resources and infrastructure, and diverse mix of small- and mid-sized manufacturers. To reach its full potential and catalyze regional transformation, however, Newark will need to overcome challenges such as innovation and networking gaps, limited public awareness of manufacturing opportunities, and an aging manufacturing workforce. Findings reveal that many Newark manufacturers do not sufficiently invest in innovative improvements, coordinate to adopt sustainable practices, or aggressively develop new entry points into regional and global markets. The city and its region also face career readiness and land use challenges.
“My administration has worked tirelessly to create jobs and bring new companies and development to our City,” said Mayor Booker. “The relocation of companies like Manischewitz and Panasonic USA, the first two new hotels downtown in 40 years, the rise of affordable and market-rate housing throughout our City’s neighborhoods, and the world-class events being hosted at the Prudential Center speak to our success. We also recognize Newark’s historic past as a manufacturing center, and we're working hard to ensure it has an equally vibrant future. This partnership with Brookings and Newark's academic institutions, nonprofits and local manufacturers will enable us to leverage the brightest opportunities for Newark's manufacturing sector and continue our economic growth."
The new manufacturing framework offers specific strategies to bolster Newark’s manufacturing sector. These strategies are designed to help overcome the challenges facing the city’s manufacturers and better leverage assets and opportunities. The strategies align with five key goals for growing a stronger “next economy” in the city and region:
- Accelerate innovation to improve process and product development;
- Promote sustainable supply chains and resource efficiency;
- Enhance market access for small and mid-sized manufacturers;
- Create a 21st-century manufacturing workforce and strengthen talent pipelines;
- Link physical transformation to economic transformation.
Building off of the strategies outlined in this report, various stakeholders in Newark have committed to taking action. For example, Rutgers Business School’s Center for Supply Chain Management is ready to launch New Jersey’s first-ever urban manufacturing resource hub—the “Newark Industrial Solutions Center”—which will serve as a much-needed access point for small- and mid-sized suppliers in the greater Newark region. In its pilot year, it will serve at least 10 local manufacturers. Going forward, the city and other organizations will announce more commitments to achieve these manufacturing goals.
“Newark has real concentration of manufacturing assets—from the literal nuts and bolts, like Port Newark/Elizabeth, to the talented minds that will crack tomorrow’s problems—but continued collaborations will ultimately be key to maximizing these assets,” said Mistry. “Throughout this process, I’ve seen Newark’s enthusiasm to better understand and utilize its resources—while being realistic about the challenges—in order to re-energize manufacturing. There is still work to do, and it will require the active involvement of many voices and institutions,” Mistry added.
To see the full report, please visit: http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2013/05/28-newark-manufacturing-mistry-vey-shearer For information about the event, contact Rachel Harvey, 202-797-6073, firstname.lastname@example.org