Lehigh Valley

Wolf unveils $12 million manufacturing plan in Bethlehem

VIDEO: Gov. Wolf on manufacturing at...

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Gov. Tom Wolf chose a symbolic place to announce his $12 million manufacturing plan: the National Museum of Industrial History near SteelStacks in Bethlehem. 

"This is a $12 million investment. But if it's successful, it's gonna unleash hundreds of millions of dollars of great ideas, great products, great services for everybody in Pennsylvania," said Wolf.  

So, what's the plan?

Wolf did not dive deep into specifics, but did offer a general framework for what he wants done. 

1.) Attempt to link businesses with workers at trade schools.

"We hope to actually help both the college and the industry…so that they can work together to build skills that are actually relevant and that actually can lead to a specific job," said Wolf. 

2.) Increase funding to industrial resource centers, which try to help businesses adapt to changing markets.

Wolf said he used the resource centers as a businessman.

"They were very helpful in actually dealing with the day-to-day things that I needed to do to make my company better," he said. 

3.) Spend money trying to implement good ideas people have on college campuses.

"I dare say there are a lot of things that are trapped in hard drives or filing cabinets up in Lehigh, or in classrooms. Great ideas," said Wolf.  

Gov. Wolf is, of course, not without critics.

"It's always welcome when our elected officials talk about the value that our sector provides," said David Taylor, President of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association. "But the fact is the governor's record thus far in his tenure is not great."

Taylor, who supported Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in his race against Wolf, said he looks at the economy in a fundamentally different way than the current governor.  

"We need state government to throttle back on spending and consume less of the private economy," he said. "Gov. Wolf has done us no favors on that front."

Wolf repeatedly stressed in his speech that Pennsylvania must spend more money to encourage more manufacturing.

"This is one of the things I think we need to work on. To encourage a resurgence of manufacturing here in Pennsylvania," said Gov. Wolf.

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