The shift toward electronics and other high-tech products requires different facilities and skill sets than the U.S. employed in its manufacturing heyday. And as a country we need to portray manufacturing as an attractive, stable career.
Both President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have named jobs, and specifically manufacturing jobs, as a priority. But it is unclear whether either candidate appreciates the key reason to preserve and grow manufacturing in America.
The story of American manufacturing is rosier than many might think. It's a story about leading from the middle. The middle market is just one part of our country's economic recovery, but it's an engine of sustainable growth and job creation.
We know that government doesn't create jobs -- small business owners do. But our role is to put the wind at their backs -- to provide them with the foundation, tools and opportunities to start and grow their businesses.
Some have given up on American industry, saying manufacturing jobs are not coming back. Business leaders beg to differ, evidenced by growing efforts at reshoring and a recommitment to the "Made in America" label.
While U.S. jobs are steadily shipped overseas, the tidal wave of foreign-made goods in our stores and in our homes has become as regular as the tide. And that's a big problem for our country.