America has always made things. It wasn’t long ago that the U.S. manufacturing sector faced years of serial neglect from Washington.

Aftershocks

The results were unsurprising: Decades of job loss and factory closings; the American defense industrial base atrophying while scores of domestic companies offshored their operations; and the commercial benefits of industrial research and development, once seeded in the United States, flourishing in other countries.

As such, a generation of workers shunned the factory floor, and employment shifted toward the retail and service sectors, which don’t offer the middle-income jobs for Americans that making things for a living does. The middle class suffered as a result.

Manufacturing was moribund, left for dead. Turning around its image, let alone its prospects—reviving it—would be no easy thing. Yet that’s exactly what we set out to do.

The road back

Sound like a heavy lift? It was. But here’s the thing: When it comes to matters of manufacturing policy, there are significant areas of agreement between business and labor.

"Industry is the heartbeat of the U.S. economy; essential and irreplaceable."

It’s no coincidence that the factory was the most ubiquitous setting in political advertisements during the last presidential campaign; that “outsourcing” is now a common word in the American lexicon; or that talk of a manufacturing rebirth has been a staple of President Obama’s State of the Union addresses. There’s a reason that House Democrats have a “Make it in America” plan; that more than 30 statehouses have taken action on “Buy America” bills; and that the issue of trade is already bubbling up on both sides of the aisle in the 2016 race.

A manufacturing renaissance is something that people want. And it’s something we can achieve, if we work together.

What we do

After losing nearly a third of our manufacturing jobs in the previous decade, we’ve gained nearly half a million back. Our army of activists has leaned on legislators to toughen trade laws. And with the right policies in place, and a united front, there will be more wins down the road for America’s makers.

Industry is the heartbeat of the U.S. economy; essential and irreplaceable. A plurality of voters agree. Conservative or liberal, voters overwhelmingly favor a national strategy to support manufacturing in the United States.

They know what we know: The seeds of a rejuvenated middle class lie in a plan to boost the economic sector where the lion’s share of American exports are produced, 90 percent of all new patents are created, and 70 percent of private-sector R&D takes place.

It’s those facts that keep us devoted to this effort. Join us in recreating a healthy middle class and a growing economy.