U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Delivers Remarks at Lam Research Facility in Celebration of Manufacturing Day


Friday, October 7, 2016

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered remarks at the Lam Research facility in Tualatin, Ore., in celebration of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). Joined by hundreds of Oregon students, parents, school administration, teachers, and other local partners, including several mayors, CEOs, and chamber of commerce representatives, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the significance manufacturing to the U.S. economy. Furthermore, the Secretary highlighted the opportunities that the manufacturing sector holds for young students, pointing out fields that lead to high-demand, high-wage careers.

Manufacturing Day is a coordinated, nationwide effort spearheaded by the Department of Commerce, during which businesses from all 50 states open their doors to exhibit new projects, and address the skilled labor shortage within the manufacturing sector.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you for that kind introduction, Tim. I am thrilled to spend Manufacturing Day at Lam Research.

Let me thank the many partners who made this event possible – the teachers and educators, industry experts and business leaders, as well as public officials like my friends Senator Merkley and Congresswoman Bonamici.

Of course, Manufacturing Day is not about me, or any of the other adults in the room. It’s about all of you – the young people getting a glimpse inside one of Oregon’s most innovative manufacturing firms. I know that not everyone is here today for the same reason. You might be on a class trip. You might already know that manufacturing is the field for you. Or you might have no idea what you want to do with your life.

And guess what? That is totally normal.  Whatever drives you, you may find a home in manufacturing. As Secretary of Commerce, one of my responsibilities is to help President Obama prepare the American people to compete in the 21st century.

Let me be frank with you. For too many students, teachers, and parents, the word “manufacturing” conjures up images of the assembly line jobs of the past instead of the high-tech jobs of the future. That is a real problem, especially because it is wrong.

Manufacturing today is constantly changing. And the success of this sector depends on talented, flexible, and imaginative young people like you pursuing careers in cutting-edge fields like engineering, computer programming, and industrial design.

Without your generation’s participation in manufacturing, we cannot maintain America’s place as the world leader in innovation. That is why we partnered with companies across the country to hold Manufacturing Day and show you what this fast-changing sector looks like in the 21st century.

Just look at Lam Research. The chips inside our smartphones, tablets, and computers grow twice as powerful every 18 months. But that does not happen on its own. These incredible advancements are made possible by the software engineers, semiconductor experts, and robotics technicians at Lam Research. Lam employees are proud that there is not a smartphone on the market that does not run on chips built by their equipment.

But, this is a fast-moving industry. To stay ahead of the competition, manufacturers like Lam Research constantly need new talent and creative ideas.

Simply put: they need you. 

Lam is just one of thousands of factories, research labs, and businesses opening their doors today for tours, demonstrations, workshops, and other Manufacturing Day events.

This sector is undergoing rapid, exciting transformation thanks to new technologies, from 3D printing to smart sensors to robotics. Jobs in these fields offer great paychecks, fascinating work, and promising opportunities for advancement.

But you are not just looking to make a paycheck - you are looking to make an impact. That’s why you should consider a career in manufacturing. Keep in mind, manufacturers solve pressing problems every day.

Say you are passionate about the environment. Right here in Oregon, manufacturers are creating and producing sustainable materials like Cross Laminated Timber. Working in this field, you could radically reduce the environmental impact of construction in your communities. Or think about the health care field. Across the country, companies are using 3D printing to build low-cost medical devices for people in need.

Just this week, at Northrop Grumman’s Manufacturing Day event, students used 3D printers to build wrist-activated hands for children born without fingers. Or perhaps you love digital technology. In Rochester, New York, one of the Obama Administration’s advanced manufacturing hubs is pioneering photonics. Photonics is a new technology that harnesses light particles to exponentially increase how much data we can transfer per second.

Every time the Internet increases in speed, entrepreneurs launch new apps like Uber and Snapchat that were not possible before. By working in photonics, you have a chance to invent and create the technologies that will power the startups of the future.

There are many opportunities in this field. Let me tell you about two young people I met last night working in Oregon’s manufacturing sector. Both of them have great jobs – yet they took completely different paths to get where they are today.

When Lauren Bales went off to college, she was not sure what kind of career she wanted. Then, a class in engineering ignited her interest in aerospace. Lauren had to apply to almost every Boeing internship she could find before her persistence finally paid off. Today, she is a full-time Manufacturing Engineer at Boeing.

There, she works on the aircraft of the future – planes that will deliver us to our destinations much faster while using less energy. Last night I also spoke to Zac Clayville. He told me that growing up school just “wasn’t his thing.” 

Looking back, Zac says that he might have dropped out of high school if it were not for the metals classes that captured his imagination. Working with his teachers, Zac was linked to a community organization called Impact Northwest.

They secured him an internship at Vigor – the leading shipbuilder in the Pacific Northwest. Today, Zac is one of Vigor’s best new hires, managing the machinery used to manufacture the company’s tugboats, barges, and other shipping equipment. His future in shipbuilding – a major industry here in Oregon – is bright.

In the next decade there will be an estimated 30,000 job openings in manufacturing right here in Oregon. These are opportunities ripe for your taking. Why wouldn’t you consider a career in a high-wage, high-demand field like industrial engineering, machining, or computer programming?

Now is the time to explore your interests and try new things. Take a course in metalworking or robotics. Consider an internship like Lauren or an apprenticeship like Zac. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to talk to the folks at Lam Research and imagine yourself working in the ever-changing field of manufacturing. 

I am so glad that we could spend Manufacturing Day together. Thank you for being here. I look forward to joining you for today’s demonstrations.

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Last updated: 2016-10-07 15:53

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