In regard to Walmart's announced commitment to invest $50 billion over the next ten years in American-made goods: I am the owner of Oliver & Adelaide, an online retailer of children's clothing, toys and furnishings, all of which are made exclusively in the U.S. Without ignoring Walmart's current problems and past policies, their announcement is a step in the right direction that will increase production and jobs in this country. I strongly believe many other companies will follow suit.
However, the result of the Walmart investment and the support of other major U.S.-based organizations will not be fully felt for years to come because the United States has fallen too far behind in two key areas.
First, there currently is a lack of workers who are prepared to perform effectively in manufacturing environments. This is a direct result of jobs being shipped overseas, and it will take years to restore a fully trained American workforce to support the new demand.
The second issue is the need to build new, modern factories. And, when we build these factories, we'll need to make sure they are environmentally friendly. The last thing we want to do is bring manufacturing back to the U.S. while at the same time destroying our environment. This is a major challenge being felt overseas -- especially in China.
Yes, building a new manufacturing workforce and modern factories are both big challenges. But the positive benefits are huge, and I know this from my own experience.
Before starting Oliver & Adelaide, I worked for 12-plus years as a fashion designer in the U.S. and in China and have experience firsthand with the manufacturing process in Asia. It became very clear to me that "Made in the USA" products -- especially for children -- are far superior, since the bottom line is that American-made products are higher-quality and safer. Despite the challenges, is there really any other solution?