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Legislators, labor leaders say Buffalo primed for manufacturing boom

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Buffalo: Legislators, labor leaders say Buffalo primed for manufacturing boom
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Union brass, policymakers and local legislators talked about manufacturing in Buffalo Monday. They were discussing ways to make Western New York a leader as jobs begin returning to the United States.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Alliance for American Manufacturing is targeting a handful of cities across the country to talk about nurturing the manufacturing industry.

"I think Buffalo is well-poised to take advantage of this potential resurgence in manufacturing," AAM president Scott Paul said.

After two stagnant decades, the Alliance said companies are hiring again thanks to an aging workforce, lower energy costs, and second thoughts about taking jobs out of the country.

"We have to get young people interested in the careers," Paul said. "We have to make sure the pipeline is there in the high school and the colleges to prepare them, and most importantly we have to make sure we get the right policies from Washington to keep the jobs right here in the United States so that they don't leave again."

Advocates said Western New York colleges, politicians, and the regional economic council are starting to make advanced manufacturing a priority.

"We can compete, but you need help from the government," Rep. Brian Higgins, D-New York, told the audience Monday.

Labor representatives said the most important piece is making sure there is a properly trained workforce.

"Hopefully after tonight, we have a working group come out of here to talk about how we tie in the educational community to the manufacturing, to the unions," John Shinn, United Steel Workers District 4 President, said.

Monday, panelists and audience members discussed the hurdles facing industry growth and proposed ideas on how to overcome them.

"We think Western New York's a great place to do it because of the history of manufacturing here, but also the potential to move forward," Paul said.

They said forums like this create awareness the industry is very much alive, but are only effective if they lead to new legislation.

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