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Valri Lightner, deputy director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office

Today, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) joins with many manufacturers from the around the country to celebrate Manufacturing Day – a day where manufacturers across America open their doors to show the public what modern manufacturing looks like and to inspire the next generation of skilled workers.

Since the industrial era, advancements in manufacturing innovations and technology development have set us on a rapid course for continued economic growth and American prosperity. Our U.S. manufacturing economy is strong and the industry is continuously improving as new technologies and innovations arise, creating opportunities for new product development and increased productivity.

In the most recent data, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturers contributed $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter of 2018. Manufacturing is among the highest paying sectors of the economy, and has a broad impact on jobs in other sectors. In many ways, manufacturing in America has never been better. A National Association of Manufacturers survey found that, over the past nine consecutive quarters, more than 90% of manufacturers reported being positive about their company’s outlook. That’s record-setting optimism dating back to the first quarter of 2017.

But we still have challenges as manufacturers struggle to fill highly technical jobs with skilled workers that are needed to deploy new technologies. Continued investments to expand the capabilities of the domestic manufacturing supply chain are needed to move technology innovation forward.

President Trump has made workforce development a top priority in his Administration. The Department of Energy (DOE), through coordination with AMO, also champions manufacturing through continued investments in early-stage research and development, workforce development programs and skills training for current and future manufacturing workers, and partnerships with DOE National Laboratories, companies, state and local governments, and universities. Many in the industry, including our partners, are committed to strengthening American manufacturing.

One of the perks of my job is that I get to travel around the country and meet with many of our partners and industry friends to listen to the talk about the challenges they face every day. I also get to see industry working together to address skilled labor shortages and create new jobs to make American manufacturing stronger and more competitive.

A report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute suggests that over the next decade, more than 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed. That’s good news for the industry and an even better opportunity for next generation scientist and engineers entering the workforce. The celebration of Manufacturing Day creates a great opportunity for businesses to educate students about manufacturing, share innovation successes, and even brainstorm new ideas.

I’m also excited to celebrate this day by visiting the University of Illinois at Chicago where I will tour a manufacturing research lab and their combined heat and power plant that supplies the campus electricity and heat, and will meet with student energy assessors from the AMO Industrial Assessment Center program.

Manufacturing isn’t what it used to be and changing public perception of manufacturing is vital to ensuring the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. Through the support of Manufacturing Day and other industry efforts, we can address common misperceptions and continue to build a community of innovative thinkers and leaders ready to take on new challenges and modernize manufacturing.

AMO is pleased to support the many manufacturers, academic institutions, students and parents around the country who are working together to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

Happy Manufacturing Day!

Valri Lightner,


Lightner's Signature

Deputy Director
The Advanced Manufacturing Office
The Department of Energy