Manufacturing Summit at RIT
A manufacturing summit was held Monday at Rochester Institute of Technology to discuss the future of jobs and the economy in Upstate New York.
The summit was one of 11 that the Metal Service Center Institute is hosting around the country prior to November's election. It brought business leaders from the Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse areas together to discuss issues affecting the future of manufacturing.
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If you talk to those spearheading the manufacturing business, the very jobs our city's foundation was built on, are at a standstill, at best.
"Manufacturing accounts for roughly 12-13% of GDP," said Bob Weidner, Metals Service Center Institute.
"Manufacturing is in neutral, and a lot of us are working hard to get it back into first gear," said John Batiste, Klein Steel.
The Metal Service Center Institute, a non partisan organization, educates supply companies on the issues facing the industry.
While it's not uncommon to keep your party affiliation under wraps in the workplace, MSCI urges businesses to engage in the political arena.
"What we're asking is at least pause and think about where candidates stand on these business issues,” Weidner said.
And the power is in your vote.
"For many years, we have had a very business friendly environment in Washington under both Democrats and Republicans," said Weidner.
But a shift has taken place over the last three years that has business leaders in Upstate New York concerned.
“We need to be business friendly, less regulation, less incumbrance on business, not bashing profits, profits are good," said Bill Simpson, Gleason Corporation. "We can't get enough educated workforce, enough talent in our workforce, Rochester having such a dismal graduation rate."
They're waiting for the economy to turn around and it begins in Washington.
"We have to regain the excellence and the attitude of exceptionalism in this country," Simpson said.
“An economy won't grow with service jobs or more government, the economy grows when companies like Klein steel grow and create more jobs," said Batiste.
When it comes to Election Day, business owners say no one can afford to take a back seat.
"The first thing I'm gonna do in the morning is vote," Simpson said.
The Summit included Congressional candidates and their representatives. The business leaders hope their message was heard with a few more weeks to go before Election Day.