Above: Daltile is a leader among Adams County’s manufacturers

This column was published in the Gettysburg Times, June 11, 2015

By Kaycee Kemper

Several years ago when Tyco Electronics closed its East Berlin manufacturing facility, I witnessed first-hand the devastating effects that a major manufacturing loss can have upon a community. As part of the Department of Labor and Industry’s Rapid Response Team assembled to help and support the 600 employees who lost their jobs, I’m extremely sensitive and attuned to the need to strengthen the manufacturing industry’s place within the backbone of Pennsylvania’s economy.  Since then, we have lost several additional Adams County-based manufacturers: Master Brand Cabinets, Schindler Elevator and Herff-Jones.

We need to protect and shore up Adams County’s remaining manufacturers, not only because they play a vital role within the Adams County and Pennsylvania economies, but because of their innovative contributions to the American marketplace.

That is why ACEDC is pleased to partner with Senator Rich Alloway, The SouthCentral Workforce Investment Board, and HACC, for a ground-breaking summit focused exclusively on Adams County’s manufacturing industry!

Mark your calendars for Friday, June 19. This free event begins with breakfast at 8 am, and will take place at ACEDC, 1300 ProLine Place, Gettysburg, within the Adams Commerce Center. Anyone and everyone connected to the manufacturing industry is welcome.

Senator Richard Alloway will kick off the event with an update regarding workforce development initiatives and the proposed state budget.

“The Adams County Economic Development Corporation has been an indispensable partner in efforts to bolster local businesses and promote workforce development,” explains Alloway. “The summit offers a valuable opportunity for local businesses to explore the challenges associated with growing their business and training employees to meet the growing demands of today’s economy.”

Additional speakers include Kevin Perkey of the SouthCentral Workforce Investment Board (SCWIB)—with an update with regard to the Workforce Investment Act—and Dan Wagner of HACC’s Workforce Development Division.

“Manufacturing—a key economic driver—has careers and education needs that span the entire spectrum from logistics and transportation, to machining, production, and mechatronics (industrial maintenance),” Wagner explains. “Keeping the workforce trained to the increased technical skills required in this industry is key to supporting a robust and growing economy.”

Currently within Adams County, there is wonderful diversity within the manufacturing community. The food industry, driven by Adams County’s location in Pennsylvania’s agricultural and fruit belt, includes Knouse Foods and Cadbury-Schweppes/Dr. Pepper Group. Within the printing industry, Graphcom is a full-service industry leader. Additional unique manufacturers include Bar Ray Products, Littlestown, the world’s largest manufacturer of radiation protective garments; O’Malley Wood Products, Gardners, which produces hardwood pellets used in heating and cooking; Pella Corporation, Gettysburg, manufacturer of windows and doors; Daltile, Gettysburg, where the national tile company’s unglazed mosaic tiles are produced; SAY Plastics, McSherrystown, an industry leader in the development and manufacturing of thermoformed plastics; and Keystone Fur Dressing, Aspers, experts in the tannery business.

Workforce development is a hot topic these days; the link and synergy between economic development and workforce development is even hotter. At ACEDC, we are committed to igniting the discussions needed to keep the manufacturing industry burning brightly for years to come.

To RSVP for the Manufacturers’ Summit:  Contact ACEDC by email ([email protected]) or call (717-334-0042, ext. 3) by June 12.