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April 21. 2013 9:03PM

Factory tour highlights role of manufacturing in nation's economy

NASHUA - House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., joined U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., for a tour of W.H. Bagshaw Co. Inc. on Friday to highlight the important role that manufacturing jobs continue to play in the economy.

W.H. Bagshaw is a fifth-generation family owned business that manufactures pins, ball bearings and other products that started out in Massachusetts in 1870 and has been in Nashua for roughly 60 years.

As an example of what she and Hoyer are trying to do in Congress to promote the manufacturing sector, Kuster said Democrats in Congress are trying to develop legislation that would close loopholes for companies that export jobs overseas while at the same time creating tax credits for companies that bring jobs to America.

"People aren't asking for a lot. They want a decent home and a decent job," Kuster said. "They just want the government to be part of the solution and not the problem."

Hoyer said that while many manufacturing jobs have left America over the decades, now is a time where American can take advantage of changes in the global economy and bring many of those jobs back.

"Salaries internationally, while still not on American levels, are going up, environmental concerns are becoming more pronounced, and with the cost of oil shipping costs are going through the roof," Hoyer said.

A big advantage America will have over the rest of the international community going forward will be energy independence, Hoyer said. "Industries are going to be able to come here and operate with a very low overhead because of how cheap utilities are going to be. That alone will bring manufacturing jobs back to America," Hoyer said.

Adria Bagshaw, vice president and chief validation officer at W.H. Bradshaw, said despite recently expanding to 36 full-time employees, the company is looking to hire even more workers but is having a hard time finding people who have the training needed for the positions available.

"While we need to develop more manufacturing jobs, we also need to focus on filling the jobs that we have available now," Bradshaw said. "We need to boost education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,) education, so that companies like us that are looking to hire can actually find people to fill those jobs."

Bradshaw said that the reputation of American manufacturing has taken such a hit, that local businesses don't even think to consider local when it could in fact save them money. Bradshaw she recently secured a local contract to create stakes for flags by proving they could produce better quality products cheaper than what China is manufacturing.



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