NJMEP Kennedy

NJMEP Celebrates the State’s Manufacturing Efforts Over the Past Year

Today is Manufacturing Day, a nationally recognized celebration of one of the country’s most important industries. Each year, the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) hosts its own celebration called “Made in New Jersey” Manufacturing Day, with the goal of breaking down outdated misconceptions about the industry and highlighting the work that has been done by the 11,000 manufacturing entities in New Jersey. This year marked the 9th anniversary of NJMEP’s event, which was hosted today at the Marigold in Somerset. 

This year’s celebration took on new meaning, as the role of manufacturers became even more vital as the nation struggled to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the things I was most proud of was that our governor and our legislature understood the value of manufacturing and kept manufacturing open in New Jersey [throughout the pandemic],” said John Kennedy, CEO of NJMEP. “A lot of states did not do that. They closed either all manufacturing or partial manufacturing. Those of you who understand supply chain know that doesn’t work.”

“Our state is home to medical device makers who equip doctors and surgeons with precision instruments; machining firms that turn iron and steel into custom tools and components; pharmaceutical manufacturers that produce life saving drugs that are relied on by millions; and some of the most successful chemical manufacturers in the nation,” said Senator Bob Menendez. “This sector is an economic powerhouse that contributes more than $50 billion to New Jersey’s annual GDP.”

After being deemed an essential industry in New Jersey, many manufacturers retooled and pivoted their business to aid in the battle against COVID-19, manufacturing critical personal protective equipment (PPE), lifesaving ventilators, and even contributing to vaccine development.

One example of the selfless contribution of the manufacturing industry over the past year came from pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, whose US headquarters is located in Bridgewater. 

“We were the first to step up in early 2021 to provide manufacturing support to other companies,” said Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson, who gave one of today’s keynote speeches. “There wasn’t any debate … putting forward some of our manufacturing capacity to help accelerate vaccination efforts and protect lives was clearly the right thing to do.”

The company’s global footprint and world class manufacturing network allowed them to support the manufacturing of Pfizer’s vaccine in Germany, Johnson & Johnson’s in France, and Moderna’s in the US.

“Our Ridgefield site is a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility where our incredible Sanofi teams will manufacture up to 200 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine,” said Hudson.

“The past year and a half has tested New Jersey in truly unprecedented ways,” said Gov. Phil Murphy, who spoke at the event via recorded message. “In the face of these challenges, we are all working tirelessly to overcome every obstacle, and the manufacturing industry has been at the very front of this effort.”

The governor lauded NJMEP for providing unparalleled support to employers throughout the pandemic by training the New Jersey workforce with new skills, serving as a lifeline for many who lost their jobs, and creating much needed opportunity for career growth.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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