Mayor Rawlings-Blake Hosts City's First Manufacturing Forum

Mayor Rawlings-Blake Hosts City's First Manufacturing Forum 

Forum explores current industry challenges, examines potential to grow Baltimore 

BALTIMORE, Md. (October 7, 2014)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) President & CEO William Cole, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Secretary Dominick Murray, and members of Baltimore's manufacturing community to host the city's first Manufacturing Forum—a networking event for leaders in the manufacturing sector to discuss ways to work more collaboratively to promote robust growth in Baltimore's diverse manufacturing sector.

"Right now, the manufacturing market is ripe for development, and I believe Baltimore City is uniquely positioned to build a stronger manufacturing industry," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "I hope that today's productive conversation is the first of many that will help us design a blueprint for future success and ensure that "Made in Baltimore" does not become a thing of the past."

At one point, Baltimore City was home to 75% of all manufacturing jobs in the region. Due to numerous factors, including the movement of manufacturing jobs to southern states and the advent of automation and globalization, Baltimore's manufacturing industry experienced significant decline in the number of firms and total employment.

Despite the consistent decline of nation's the manufacturing industry, Baltimore remains home to a number of prominent manufacturing firms in seven leading sectors—including food, chemical, plastics and rubber products, printing and related support, fabricated metal products, furniture, and miscellaneous manufacturing—that make significant contributions to the city's economy.

Since 2013, more than 12,000 people have been employed by the City's manufacturing establishments including Berry Plastics, Domino Sugar, W.R. Grace and Company, H&S Bakery, Saval Foods, Marlin Steel Wire, Emergent Biosolutions and Maritime Applied Physics Corporation. The presence of these companies in the city demonstrates the long-term importance of manufacturing, as well as the city as a place to locate and grow manufacturing businesses.

"Today, we focused on identifying solutions and resources to improve the city's manufacturing operations, spark innovation, and increase growth," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "Positioning Baltimore as a manufacturing center with new technologies and skilled workers that will attract businesses and jobs is a priority for my administration."

Five panels provided opportunities for information sharing from experts in their respective fields. Topics presented included: Supply Chain Risk Management, Innovation, The Maker Economy, Access to Capital and Export Assistance, and Workforce.

"This forum created an opportunity to exchange creative ideas that will assist in formulating a plan that helps jump-start the city's resurgence in the manufacturing industry," said BDC President and CEO William H. Cole. "Our goal is to promote and foster an environment where emerging and entrepreneurial firms grow alongside existing companies in the industry."

Corporate sponsors for the event included ASR Group/Domino Sugar, CohnReznick, M&T Bank, and McGladrey LLP. The Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development and Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland also partnered with the City and BDC to organize the forum.

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