States have a role to play in restoring U.S. manufacturing to a competitive position in the global economy and in shaping the manufacturing industries and jobs of the future. A number of states are crafting strategies with a specific focus on advancing the state of manufacturing and linking manufacturing to other state goals—creating jobs, diversifying energy resources, supporting emerging technologies or industries, retaining high-wage jobs and revitalizing mature industries.

Innovation represents the best way for the United States to compete for new economic activity and job creation, both by using technology to dramatically boost productivity, process improvements and quality as well as by developing the next generation of innovative manufactured products. For American manufacturing, the future increasingly lies in rapidly changing fields such as energy, medical devices, gene therapy, transportation and aerospace—based on advances in nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and information technologies. Moreover, there are many research areas with the potential to create a new era of manufacturing, including research on robotics, advanced materials and materials processing and nano-engineering, allowing firms to better manipulate matter at the smallest scales in order to produce everything from new industrial materials to cutting-edge medicine.

Entrepreneurship takes many forms—whether occurring through the risk taken by startups, rapidly growing firms or existing companies developing new products or business models. Entrepreneurship is key to improving the odds that new technologies will move from the lab to the factory and that other nations will have something to buy from American manufacturers that could generate both high profits and also good jobs.

Global competitiveness is also key to a manufacturing renaissance because foreign companies are increasingly bringing their manufacturing to the United States to be near large markets and access America’s highly-skilled work force.