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A growing workforce: Delaware celebrates National Manufacturing Day

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Katie Peikes
/
Delaware Public Media
Sen. Chris Coons talks with Doug Belush at Polytech Adult Education.

The manufacturing industry remains a key component of Delaware’s economy, bringing with it jobs, training and resources.

State and federal officials used National Manufacturing Day to highlight some of the industry’s strengths in the First State.

Sen. Chris Coons (D) said while some of the state’s largest manufacturers have gone out of business, smaller ones are steadily growing. Programs like Polytech High School’s Adult Education program help train the workforce those manufacturers need.

"This resource here in Central Delaware is critical to keeping small and medium manufacturers in Delaware globally competitive as the speed with which technology improves is picking up; as the amount of it that’s embedded in all manufacturing increases, we have to continually invest in keeping the skills of our manufacturing workforce current if we’re going to keep manufacturing jobs in Delaware," Coons said.

Employers, Coons added, must also invest in training if the state is to maintain a productive manufacturing workforce with the necessary cutting-edge world-class skills.

Coons was joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse at Polytech. USDA Rural Development grant dollars help fund the training programs there.

"If you look at our proximity to the major cities within the region, we can manufacture products here with the great workforce we have," Scuse said. "But we can then distribute those to the cities that are close by, so that gives us a huge advantage."

 

Scuse praised Polytech for its work training adults seeking to enter the manufacturing workforce.

 

Scuse and Coons also visited Croda Inc. in New Castle and Merck Animal Health Labs in Millsboro as part of his manufacturing tour.

 

Over the last seven years, the USDA has invested about $3.9 billion from its Rural Development Fund into programs like Polytech’s Adult Education Program to bolster the state’s rural communities.