Tucson's first ever manufacturing block party - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Tucson's first ever manufacturing block party

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

There seems to be some consensus that manufacturing is slowly making its way back to American soil.

For years, much of it has been outsourced to places like China, Mexico and many third world nations because of cheap labor.

But labor costs have fallen here, transportation costs have increased nearly everywhere and the question of quality has become a big issue.

"Cost isn't always the bottom line," says Michael Sherwood, of Tucson Assembly. "You open the box, you want it to work."

So, that's all well and good. But for decades, American industry has shed jobs which has caused the labor force to look elsewhere.

That has created a problem that needs to be solved quickly.

"America doesn't have the trained workforce needed to fill the jobs," Jim Mize, from the one stop training center has told us.

Which is why Tucson has held its first ever, "manufacturing block party".

It was held at Tucson Embedded Systems on Commerce Way near the Tucson Airport.

Several Tucson manufacturing companies and the University of Arizona joined forces to help companies find suppliers and to help students get interested in manufacturing as a career.

Gone are the days of one skill, repetitive manufacturing jobs.

Today's jobs require new skills, many of them computer skills.

And Tucson seems to be leading the charge for a couple of reasons.

Jeremy Schalk. a vice president of High Tech Machinery,  says "with a low cost labor market south of the border and high skilled market in the Tucson area," that puts our area in demand.

He says he has "attended trade shows in Hermosillo which has been attended by many European companies" and they find that combination attractive.

Several hundred people attended the three hour block party including the Mayor of Tucson, Jonathan Rothschild.

"Let's get our younger kids interested in manufacturing again," says Sherwood. "We get a good workforce, you get good quality."

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