MANUFACTURING

In 1791, New Jersey welcomed the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, a unique quasi-governmental body launched to cultivate manufacturing along the Passaic River. The Society – a personal project of United States Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton – serves as one example of the state’s longstanding, existential-commercial relationship with manufacturing. The economy, of course, has evolved over the centuries, with industrialization transitioning to innovation and manufacturing decreasing in terms of its share of both the labor force and output, within the state and across the nation. Even so, the federal government and a number of states have recognized the consequential role played by manufacturing in the innovation economy, enacting policies to rejuvenate the sector’s mechanics, techniques and workforce. As New Jersey pursues the generation of sustainable, rewarding employment and the development of a knowledge-based, leading-edge ecosystem, the state should examine manufacturing initiatives succeeding in such places as Connecticut, which has devoted attention and resources to the field through its Manufacturing Innovation Fund.