As the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things continues to revolutionize the industry, manufacturers across the nation are quickly adopting these new technologies to improve and grow their business operations. In response, states are competing to position themselves as an ideal location for this new-breed manufacturing and working to improve the climate for the manufacturers they already have, while also attracting new clients to bring in. By doing so, they hope to bolster their economies and provide new jobs and opportunities to their state’s workforce.
Despite this market shift, only five states account for over 35 percent of all advanced industry jobs in the U.S., Texas being one of them. As the nation’s leader in exports with $232 billion in goods in 2016, a top five employer of manufacturing jobs, and the “Best State for Business,” Texas is well positioned for advanced manufacturers.
Texas’ Highly-Skilled Workforce
Advanced manufacturing encompasses high-levels of research, development, and logistics, all of which requires organizations to rely heavily on a highly skilled workforce. There is a greater need for workers to have a background in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and the skills to keep up with technological advancements in advanced manufacturing. Many companies worry that the current demand will outweigh the supply, and create a skills gap.
Fortunately, Texas boasts eight Carnegie Foundation Tier 1 research universities: Texas Tech, the University of North Texas, UT Austin, UT Dallas, UT Arlington, Texas A&M, the University of Houston, and Rice, which can fill the need of highly skilled workers.
Beyond being Tier 1 research universities, UT Austin and Texas A&M are ranked No. 9 and No. 11 by the U.S. News & Report in the nation for best collegiate engineering programs.
Texas high schools are doing their part as well. In North Texas, area manufacturers have invested $200,000 on industrial equipment for the Advanced Manufacturing Program in various local high schools to help train and better prepare future workers in manufacturing.
North Texas is also home to the No. 1 and No. 3 best magnet schools in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Both the School for the Talented and Gifted, and the School of Science and Engineering focus on preparing kids to excel in STEM programs in the future.
A Long-Time Leader in Advanced Manufacturing
Texas already has an advantage in the advanced manufacturing space because the state has been recognized as a leader in advanced manufacturing for some time. Texas manufacturing employs nearly 874,450 people with a diversified labor force in advanced industries.
According to Brookings, “[Texas] employment is distributed relatively evenly across manufacturing industries like semiconductors and chemicals; energy segments like oil and gas extraction; and high-tech services like engineering, computer design, and management consulting.”
Industries investing in advanced manufacturing can help increase their productivity and can reduce energy cost. In fact, 82 percent of industries have reported greater efficiency in production and some have even seen energy cost cut by 5 to 15 percent.
Texas is also home to aerospace and defense manufacturing leaders, such as Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin which all have invested in developing and utilizing advanced manufacturing processes due to their immense benefits. Economists believe that this gives Texas an advantage on luring future advanced manufacturing prospects to the state. Having local competition from businesses such as these can also help spur innovation in Texas.
Both the diversification of industries and being home to industry leaders helps contribute to the success and stability of advanced manufacturing in Texas.
A Friendly Business Climate
Texas continues to foster a friendly climate for businesses. For the 12th year in a row, Chief Executive Magazine has named Texas the “Best State for Business.” The reason for Texas’ reign over this title of is that it offers small business incentives, low tax burdens, a lower cost of living, and a fair regulatory environment.
Also friendly to businesses is the Texas transportation system. Texas has the second largest state airport system in the country, including high-capacity industrial airports. The state boasts over 313,210 miles of public roads, the most for any state in the nation, and is home to three of the top ten ports leading in waterborne foreign trade.
Texas encourages businesses to innovate in technology. Through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), the state has granted companies additional funding to conduct research and develop new products. In 2007, the TEF granted Samsung’s Semiconductor manufacturing plant $10.8 million to help fund expansion to produce its state-of-the-art 300mm NAND flash memory wafer. And TEF continues to grant companies funding to forge new applications to improve these technologies.
As new technologies continue to disrupt and revolutionize the world of manufacturing, one thing remains clear: Texas is well positioned to cater to and grow with advanced manufacturers.