Gov. Terry McAuliffe: Advanced manufacturing sector key to economic growth

“[I]f you are going to grow in a diversifying economy,” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told a Brookings audience today, “it is your advanced manufacturing sector that’s going to do it for you.” Gov. McAuliffe’s remarks came in the final session of a morning-long discussion of America’s advanced industries—like aerospace and auto, oil and gas extraction, software, and health IT. These are the innovation and STEM-worker (science, technology, engineering, and math) intensive businesses that are central to U.S. prosperity in the future.

Senior Fellow Mark Muro, policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, engaged Gov. McAuliffe in a discussion of the importance of advanced industries to Virginia’s economy, and what role states and regions play in this area. Muro is a co-author of a new report, “America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter,” that documents the sector and its role in American prosperity. In his introduction of Gov. McAuliffe, Muro explained that the state has 400,000 workers in the advanced industry sector, and 11 percent of the state’s economy is directly employed in those industries.

Gov. McAuliffe spoke to Virginia’s unique situation and why he focuses on bringing jobs to the commonwealth:

We’re in a unique situation in Virginia. We’re the #1 recipient of Department of Defense dollars, number one in America. We have a lot of military assets, we have the largest naval base in the world, the Pentagon is in Virginia, the CIA, Quantico. That’s great when they are spending money but when they’re cutting back through defense cuts and sequestration we get hit harder than anyone else. So our whole emphasis is bringing in businesses and building businesses that are less reliant on the federal government. … This is what I think about every day.

Watch their conversation here:

Gov. McAuliffe also noted what he called “the fundamentals” for attracting business:

You’ve got to have the fundamentals: Innovation, creativity, a world class infrastructure. We have very low tax rates in Virginia (we’re 6 percent corporate tax …); very pro-business environment. Infrastructure: Dulles Airport, [the] deepest port on the east coast. [A] world class education system. When we get all of this working together, we are very competitive; we can bring any business back we want. Building technology is so critical.

“Jobs are jobs,” the governor said, “but we want to make sure they are good paying jobs, and these advanced manufacturing [jobs] on average pay double.” He also said that schools need to engage young children with the STEM-H [health care] courses early and that “we better have an education system that is very nimble, that can work very quickly with the business sector to say, ‘what do you need?’”

The event, hosted by the Metropolitan Policy Program, also featured remarks by and discussions with leading CEOs and policy experts, including: Antoine van Agtmael, Brookings Trustee and senior advisor at Garten Rothkopf; Bruce Katz, VP and director of the Metro program; Dominic Barton, global managing director at McKinsey & Co.; Srikant Inampudi, a partner at McKinsey & Co.; and six CEOs: Ron Armstrong, PACCAR; John Lundgren, Stanley Black and Decker; Eric Spiegel, Siemens Corporation, Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa; James Heppelmann, PTC; and Katrina Bosley, Editas Medicine.

Get full video of the event here.

Also, watch this video that explains America’s advanced industries: