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August 14, 2003
  Contact: Ginny Ward - DOC (202) 482-1311
Loretta Post - DOL (202) 693-3984

Bush Administration Officials Hold Manufacturing Roundtable
Commerce & Labor Departments to Listen to Education, Workforce and Training Issues

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development Linda Conlin and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco today hosted a roundtable discussion on the education, employment and training concerns of American manufacturers in Washington, D.C. Conlin and DeRocco discussed the Bush Administration's manufacturing agenda and listened to the concerns of representatives from manufacturing firms and trade associations that participated on the panel, followed by a question and answer session.

American manufacturing is facing significant competitive challenges. To help address those challenges, in March 2003, Commerce Secretary Don Evans outlined an aggressive Administration agenda to cement the role of manufacturing as a driving force in increasing productivity, economic growth and living standards. As a part of this effort, a series of roundtable discussions have been planned in cities across the country.

"The Bush Administration has been working to create conditions that will allow manufacturers to maximize their competitiveness and spur economic growth," Conlin said. "Part of that is addressing many of the education and training issues many manufacturers currently face. The Labor Department has focused many of their efforts on these issues and by listening to manufacturers today, we can continue to work together to ensure America's manufacturing sector is in an environment where they can compete and win in the global economy."

"This Administration is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. manufacturers and the workers they employ are prepared for the increasing demands facing the industry," said DeRocco. "Today's forum is a perfect complement to the Labor Department's focus on the President's High Growth Job Training Initiative. The manufacturing employers gathered here will help lay the groundwork for a systematic response to upgrading worker skills to match the emerging high-tech needs of manufacturing employers."

The manufacturing sector in America is the foundation for much of the U.S. economy. Census Bureau statistics show that manufacturing generates 16 percent of the national gross domestic product and directly employs 18 million Americans, 14 percent of all workers. In addition, American manufacturers are a major driver of the rest of the economy. Manufacturing accounts for approximately two-thirds of private research and development expenditures, and employs some of the best and brightest scientific minds.

For more information on the Bush Administration's manufacturing agenda, please visit: http://www.commerce.gov/opa/press/2003_Releases/March/05_Evans_Manufacturing_release.htm

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