I had the pleasure of hosting Made in New Jersey Day as one of my first duties as acting president. This event combines two of NJBIA’s primary missions—advocating for pro-business policies in the State Legislature and promoting the many contributions our member companies make to New Jersey’s quality of life.
At Made in New Jersey Day, 25 manufacturers set up displays in the State House to showcase their New Jersey-made products. The products displayed have to be made in New Jersey, and unlike other displays in the Capitol, our manufacturers are allowed to set up right outside of the chambers of the General Assembly and State Senate, and just a short walk from the Governor’s office. With the Legislature in session, lawmakers cannot help but see the many goods made in their own legislative districts and learn about the thousands of jobs manufacturing supports.
This year’s event was as successful as ever. On display were companies that stop airplanes from skidding off runways, provide us with the glasses we put on our tables and artisan breads we can bake at home. They help us clean our homes, maintain our gardens and live healthier lifestyles.
Almost 50 legislators took the time to tour the exhibits. Newly elected Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto met with several of the exhibitors before leading his house in a scheduled voting session. Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick checked out a number of displays. A couple of local television stations and newspapers produced stories about the event, and the South Jersey Times offered a supportive editorial.
NJBIA works with legislators and Administration officials every day to enact pro-business legislation or to stop bad policies that will hurt our business climate and our economy. What makes Made in New Jersey Day so valuable is that it gives us the opportunity to show lawmakers what we are fighting for.
New Jersey manufacturers compete globally, make great products and provide quality jobs for workers all over the state.
New Jersey manufacturers directly employ nearly 250,000 people and support the jobs of thousands more in transportation, logistics and other industries. And in these days of protests over the minimum wage, manufacturing jobs pay on average 30 percent more than the average for all private-sector jobs. In fact, manufacturing accounts for $39 billion in economic activity, representing 8 percent of New Jersey’s entire gross state product.
In addition to lobbying, NJBIA has a number of programs designed to help manufacturers. Our Manufacturing Network and Manufacturing Council work in tandem to provide practical information to our manufacturing members. Regular meetings and e-mails provide insights into doing business with government entities, exporting to overseas markets, energy efficiency and other topics.
We also have developed some valuable partnerships with other organizations, three of which were on display at this year’s event. The NJ Manufacturing Extension Program and NJ County College Consortium provide training for small to mid-sized manufacturers and their employees. Similarly, the NJ Council of Vocational-Technical Schools works with manufacturers and other employers to provide high school students with employment-based courses so they are better prepared to enter the workforce.
Our manufacturers are amazing. They compete nationally and globally while making great products and providing quality jobs for workers all over the state. Made in New Jersey Day is a great chance for them to show what they do and how they contribute to our economy and our quality of life. We owe it them, and ourselves, to support them any way we can.