From the Web 3.18.14

March 18, 2014
By: Vicki Bell

Highlights for fabricators from the past week’s Web articles— manufacturing production improves; new hubs struggle to create jobs; the state of Minnesota and a robot supplier are doing their part to help train workers in the Midwest; and a Florida fabricator helps build Park Avenue’s funky sculpture.

Among today’s Fab Top 5 items published on the Web in the previous week are stories about manufacturing production rebounding in February; how the much ballyhooed manufacturing hubs will struggle to create jobs (big surprise); grants by the state of Minnesota and ABB aimed at training workers in the Midwest; and how a Florida fabricator helped build a funky sculpture for Park Avenue in NYC.:

  1. It’s no secret that severe winter weather has taken a toll on the economy. But things are looking up. Manufacturing production returned to more normal levels in February, moving up 0.8 percent to 97.2. The February gain was the largest since August 2013 and nearly reversed the 0.9 percent decline in January attributed largely to winter storms. Machinery and fabricated metal products posted 1.5 percent gains in output. Manufacturing Production Rebounds in February;

  2. A lot of hope is riding on the “manufacturing innovation hubs” President Obama has launched with the promise that they could revitalize America’s industrial sector and spur jobs growth. The first of these, America Makes, was launched in Youngstown, Ohio, August 2012. “Of six organizations in Youngstown and Cleveland - the nearest major city in the state - working on America Makes projects, none has made new hires for the work. But the non-profit managing the initiative, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, has added 10 employees to run the lab and oversee the application process, said executive director Ralph Resnick.” Obama manufacturing hubs face uphill struggle to create jobs;

  3. The state of Minnesota has awarded $3.3 million to state schools to help train workers at 18 companies, including BTD Manufacturing, TRW Automotive, and Polaris Industries. The grants are being awarded through the state agency’s Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program. Since its 1983 inception, the program reportedly has benefitted more than 260,000 Minnesota workers. State awards $3.3 million to train workers at 18 companies;

  4. Also contributing to workforce training is ABB Robotics. The company has donated $50,000 to the Oakland University School of Engineering and Computer Science, Rochester, Mich., to support the development of a four-year industrial robotics and automation degree program. ABB also will provide curriculum input and internship opportunities. ABB Robotics donates $50,000 to the Oakland University School of Engineering and Computer Science;

  5. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based ESS Design has made its mark on New York City’s Park Avenue. The shop worked with sculptor Alice Aycock to create “Paper Chase,” a massive metal sculpture that’s bound to draw the attention of all passersby. Not bad for a shop that went from being one guy in a garage, and now how “employees, payroll, and all this other stuff.” Local metal fabricator helps build huge, funky sculpture in New York City;

"Paper Chase" image reprinted from

Vicki Bell

Vicki Bell

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8209