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Clay County Business News

Find out the latest announcements and happenings around Clay County.

Clay Supports Manufacturing Sector with Workforce Initiative

"Clay County seat, Green Cove Springs, is one of the best sites on the East Coast for a manufacturer to relocate or expand."  

-John Boyd, The Boyd Company, a Princeton, NJ site selection firm with clients like PRATT & WHITNEY, PEPSICO and DELL

A partnership between St. Johns River State College, Clay Economic Development Corporation, Clay School District Career and Technical Education, and local manufacturing sector business partners is working to create a Production Technician Certificate which will give workers an entry point into the field.

Work Wanted: Manufacturing Jobs  - Full Article by Candace Moody here

They say that the factory of the future will have just two employees: a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to make sure the man doesn’t touch anything.

Although that factory is still far in the future, the manufacturing sector has shed a third of its total employment in the past 30 years. Presidential candidate Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to renegotiate trade deals and “bring back” jobs. In Erie, Pa., in August 2016, he declared “I promise we can fix it so fast. We will stop these countries from taking our jobs. We will stop these countries from taking our companies.” He carried the state of Pennsylvania, the first Republican candidate to do so since 1988.

The problem, most experts agree, is that other countries aren’t the primary reason we have fewer manufacturing jobs. The real causes are technology, automation and robotics, which have permanently changed the employment outlook for manufacturing. Total employment in manufacturing has dropped from 18.9 million jobs in 1980 to 12.2 million in 2016.

The manufacturing sector continues to grow in Clay County, Florida.  

Learn more about the area's strategic business advantages here!

The loss of jobs is expressed inversely in gains in productivity, which is good news for manufacturing companies. In 1980, it took 25 jobs to generate $1 million in manufacturing output in the U.S. Today it takes five jobs, according to Boston Consulting Group. The group reports that robots are not only tireless and more reliable workers, they also work for just over minimum wage. It costs about $8 an hour to use a robot for spot welding in the auto industry, compared to $25 for a human worker.

Manufacturing companies are highly sought by economic developers, since owners make significant capital investment in factories and the sector is one that has a multiplier effect on jobs. Art Wheaton, manufacturing industry expert at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, says, “It’s not just the person who puts the pieces on the car; it’s the person who shipped the parts, the person who designed the product, the advertisers, the marketers. They’re all a subcomponent of manufacturing.” For every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.81 in additional economic activity is generated, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

The Florida Jobs 2030 report states that in November 2016, manufacturing was 4.2 percent of total nonagricultural employment in Florida. (Nationally, manufacturing makes up 9 percent of the workforce.) Locally, according to the JAXUSA’s website, there are 13,613 people employed in manufacturing in Northeast Florida.

One trend that the industry faces is the aging and imminent retirement of its workforce. Employers say that the disappearance of shop classes from high school curricula means that fewer young people consider manufacturing as a first choice for their careers. The Manufacturing Institute reports that 80 percent of manufacturers face a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled production positions.

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About Our Mission

The Clay Florida Economic Development Corporation provides concierge service for companies who want to re-invest in expansion in the county or relocate their companies to the region.

Get in touch

  • Address: 1845 Town Center Blvd., Suite 110-B, Fleming Island, FL 32003

  • Phone: 904.375.9394

  • Email: JJHarris@ChooseClay.com