U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), leader of the Senate's Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign, led a roundtable discussion with manufacturing leaders in the Capitol Thursday focused on policies to help manufacturers grow and create jobs.
Chet Beham, the vice president and general manager of MEDAL, a subsidiary of Air Liquide Advanced Technologies in Newport, and David St. Clair, chairman of Sanosil International in New Castle, were among the participants who shared their perspectives on how best to capitalize on recent growth in America's manufacturing sector. Participants detailed the challenges they face in growing and remaining profitable, including the shortage of skilled labor and difficulty accessing the capital they need to expand their businesses.
"Manufacturing jobs are high quality jobs that pay more in wages and benefits and contribute more to local economies than jobs in any other sector," Senator Coons said. "With targeted policy action, we can help facilitate robust growth in the manufacturing sector that will create new jobs and accelerate our economic recovery. I am thankful to all the industry leaders who participated in today's conversation for lending their insights to this effort."
The roundtable discussion centered on Manufacturing Jobs for America's four primary focus areas: opening markets abroad, investing in skills training, expanding access to capital, and creating the conditions necessary for growth.
David St. Clair, whose company, Sanosil International, manufactures widely used disinfectants, shared his enthusiasm for the Startup Innovation Credit Act. The bill, introduced by Senator Coons, would help startup manufacturers access the R&D tax credit. "I really appreciated being here today and having the opportunity to talk about how small startups could in fact use the R&D credit to pay for federal employment taxes," St. Clair said. "It all comes down to capital, and this is a terrific idea because it would help us conserve capital at a time when most startups really need it."
"It's great to have a representation from Senator Coons that's so actively engaged in building manufacturing and so in tune to the science and the technology behind the businesses in Delaware," said Chet Beham of Air Liquide. Beham discussed his company's need for high-skilled laborers to manufacture products like hollow fiber membranes, which contain holes small enough to separate gasses.
Manufacturing Jobs for America is a campaign by 26 senators to rally bipartisan support for legislation that would help manufacturers grow and create jobs. Together, the lawmakers have contributed 45 bills -- many with bipartisan support.