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Making Maryland a showcase for NextGen manufacturing 

Mike Galiazzo is president of the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland.

Mike Galiazzo is president of the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland.

The Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland (RMI) has been a leading advocate for Maryland manufacturing because manufacturing is an instrument of social change. Manufacturing improves lives, strengthens communities and families, and creates wealth.

Maryland manufacturing is, in a word, transformational. The inescapable reality is that the industry is changing, and change is occurring fast. Technologies are at the heart of this shift. How companies organize to work and compete globally requires adopting technologies that alter business strategy, product design, production, supply chains, and customer satisfaction.

Maryland is uniquely aligned with the future to become a national showcase for next-generation American manufacturing. Our undeniable world-class R&D ecosystem, the culture of innovation, and diverse visionary leadership represent a prescription for “Making it in Maryland” and making history. No other state or country has the assets to transform talent and technology into a powerhouse of economic and social change for the good of all.

If we think big and act bold with imagination, Maryland manufacturing will be a crown jewel of a robust high-tech economy “making goods that are good for the world.” Future workers in manufacturing will enjoy higher-paying jobs with benefits, and they will become creators and makers, leading our state into a prosperous future.

As Maryland enters a new chapter in history, with enthusiastic visionary leadership, the public and private sectors will transform the state of manufacturing.

Transforming Manufacturing in a Digital Economy Legislative Workgroup

In recognition of a rapidly growing global transformation in manufacturing based on advanced Industry 4.0 technologies, manufacturers advocated for legislation in 2021 to put Maryland on a competitive playing field with other states and countries. The Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland was instrumental in initiating and advocating for the legislation during the 2020 and 2021 sessions. SB444, introduced by Senator Chris West (R-Baltimore County, MD), and HB658, introduced by Delegate Lily Qi (D- Montgomery County, MD), became law on July 1, 2021. The bills created the “Transforming Manufacturing in a Digital Economy Workgroup (Making It in Maryland)” to address the need for policies and programs to help Maryland manufacturers adopt new Industry 4.0 technologies and to identify skills gaps in emerging advanced tech environments. The Department of Commerce staffed the workgroup culminating in the submittal of a report with recommendations to the Maryland Governor’s office in December 2022.

Highlights of the Workgroup’s recommendations:

  1. Establish a special fund of $50,000,000 in FY24 to be used for small and mid-sized (SME) manufacturers to be used for the purchase, implementation, and related employee training of industry 4.0 technology.
  2. Commit funding to establish a Manufacturing Innovation Center to help build a national showcase for next-generation manufacturing technology, talent, and transformation.
  3. Align manufacturing industry skills needs with statewide curriculum development through the efforts of the CTE Committee and other reforms resulting from the Kirwan legislation.
  4. Pass legislation to allow manufacturers with less than 50 people to join PEO (professional employer organization.)
  5. Amend Sec. 03.06.01.32-2, Section C (1) to include indirect digital product purchases, such as software.
  6. Create a Buy Maryland Manufacturing tax credit program – modeled after the Buy Maryland Cyber program
  7. Encourage local land use and zoning regulations, as well as local incentives, to ensure an adequate inventory of properties for the expansion of existing and attraction of new manufacturers in the state.
  8. Create a state matching fund to buy down the costs and improve the ROI to 3-4 years for the purchase of major facility systems such as HVAC systems, electrical switchgear, transformer, industrial logic controllers and similar advanced controls.
  9. Establish a program within Maryland Commerce to identify Maryland companies that make products or components that support sustainability and reduce carbon footprints.

See the full workgroup report here:

https://commerce.maryland.gov/commerce/transforming-manufacturing-workgroup

Manufacturing is transforming Maryland’s economic and social landscape. The trend toward reshoring is partly due to manufacturers who, can compete on costs worldwide with advanced technologies. COVID taught us that America must control the manufacturing supply chain, especially for health and life sciences products. The Federal Government has made manufacturing a priority. Recent Federal laws, like the CHIPS and Science Act, are laying the groundwork for a resurgence of high-tech, next-generation manufacturing.

Maryland, with its R&D superiority, a culture of innovation, talented workforce and visionary leadership, is positioned to be a national leader in manufacturing. Sharing a vision for manufacturing requires building relationships between manufacturing stakeholders and legislators, increasing understanding of the value of manufacturing and working together to achieve mutual benefits. Who can’t agree with working together to achieve positive results?

Mike Galiazzo is president of the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland.

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