John Kennedy, CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP)
By Jim Pytell, Editor October 1, 2021
Today is Manufacturing Day, a nationally recognized celebration of one of the country’s most important industries. Each year, the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) hosts its own celebration called Manufacturing Day “Made in New Jersey”, with the aim of breaking down outdated misconceptions about the industry and highlighting the work accomplished by the 11 000 manufacturing units. in New Jersey. This year marked the 9th anniversary of the NJMEP event, which took place today at the Marigold in Somerset.
This year’s celebration took on new meaning, as the role of manufacturers became even more vital as the nation struggled to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the things I was most proud of was that our governor and our legislature understood the value of manufacturing and kept manufacturing open in New Jersey. [throughout the pandemic]Said John Kennedy, CEO of NJMEP. “A lot of states haven’t. They closed either the entire manufacturing or the partial manufacturing. Those of you who understand the supply chain know it doesn’t work.
“Our state is home to medical device manufacturers who equip physicians and surgeons with precision instruments; machining companies that turn iron and steel into custom tools and components; the pharmaceutical manufacturers who produce life-saving drugs that millions of people rely on; and some of the country’s most successful chemical companies, ”said Senator Bob Menendez. “This industry is an economic powerhouse that contributes more than $ 50 billion to New Jersey’s annual GDP.”
After being seen as a vital industry in New Jersey, many manufacturers have revamped and pivoted their businesses to help in the fight against COVID-19, making essential personal protective equipment (PPE), vital ventilators and even by contributing to the development of vaccines.
An example of the selfless contribution of the manufacturing industry over the past year has come from pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, with US headquarters in Bridgewater.
“We were the first to step in in early 2021 to provide manufacturing support to other companies,” said Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson, who gave one of today’s speeches. “There was no debate… putting forward some of our manufacturing capacity to help accelerate immunization efforts and protect lives was clearly the right thing to do.”
The company’s global footprint and world-class manufacturing network have enabled it to support vaccine manufacturing from Pfizer in Germany, Johnson & Johnson’s in France, and Moderna’s in the United States.
“Our Ridgefield site is a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility where our incredible teams at Sanofi will manufacture up to 200 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine,” said Hudson.
“The past year and a half has tested New Jersey in truly unprecedented ways,” said Governor Phil Murphy, who spoke at the event via recorded message. “In the face of these challenges, we all work tirelessly to overcome all obstacles, and the manufacturing industry has been at the forefront of this effort. “
The governor praised the NJMEP for providing unprecedented support to employers throughout the pandemic by training the New Jersey workforce with new skills, serving as a lifeline for many who have lost their jobs and creating much needed opportunities for career growth.
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