Today, manufacturing in the United States is experiencing resurgence, propelling prosperity and the American dream forward.

Manufacturing is an economic powerhouse, contributing more than $2 trillion annually to the American economy and adding $1.37 to our economy for every dollar spent. Manufacturing means jobs, employing more than 12 million workers in the United States and supporting about one in six private-sector jobs.

Salary and demand

Manufacturing careers are lucrative. In 2013, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,506 annually, including pay and benefits. By contrast, the average worker in all industries earned $62,546.

The entire world wants the products manufacturers in the United States make. Last year, U.S.-manufactured exports reached an all-time high, with exports now supporting more than 6 million manufacturing jobs across the country.

Manufacturers in the United States are innovators, performing more than three-quarters of all private-sector R&D in the nation, driving more groundbreaking discoveries than in any other sector.

Spreading the word

Of course, with successes like these come challenges. The primary challenge facing us is to ensure that America’s manufacturing future remains bright.

First, we need to tell our story. On October 2, manufacturers across the U.S. will tell their own individual stories as they participate in Manufacturing Day 2015. Last year, more than 400,000 students, parents and teachers saw the exciting developments in our industry at events hosted by more than 1,600 companies.

"Manufacturers in the United States are innovators, driving more groundbreaking discoveries than in any other sector."

Second, we need to get the next generation of manufacturing workers enthused about possible careers in the sector. Because of a lack of qualified workers, 2 million manufacturing jobs are projected to remain unfilled over the next decade. Tactics are needed to ramp up both the skills of, and interest in, the emerging manufacturing workforce.

Third, we need to encourage greater foreign investment in the U.S. Foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector is already approaching $1 trillion. Nearly 4,000 German companies are manufacturing in the U.S. and employing more than 600,000 Americans. In the chemical sector alone, 62 percent of 240 announced projects stem from foreign direct investment.

Better dialogue

The old “us versus them” paradigm of economic investment no longer applies. Stimulating further investment in U.S. manufacturing yields huge benefits both for the investor and the American worker alike.

Manufacturing brought our nation to unprecedented levels of prosperity. It carried us to victory in World War II and took our astronauts safely to the moon and back. But even these seminal events will be overshadowed by the milestones that still await us—the successes we can’t even yet imagine.

The story of manufacturers in the United States continues to unfold. By working together, embracing our economic strengths and tackling future challenges in a strategic manner, we can ensure our manufacturing future is as strong as its past and its present.