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20.6.14

Jolie & Elizabeth: Light, Flirty Styles Perfect for Summer

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing

In French, Jolie means “pretty” and Elizabeth translates to “promise.” In 2010, when Jodie Bensen and Sarah Elizabeth Dewey established their women’s fashion company, Jolie & Elizabeth, in New Orleans, they used their own names as inspiration. 

Their “pretty promise?” was to manufacture a fashion line in New Orleans, ensuring that all their clothing would be American-made.
The company states on its website: “Jolie & Elizabeth prides itself in contributing to the rebuilding, revitalizing and redevelopment of the city of New Orleans, our great country and it delicate yet determined economy.  From our country's recession, two young business owners emerged. These two twenty somethings dedicated their efforts to creating a vertical company that proudly exercises the privilege of designing, manufacturing, selling, and shipping American made fashion.”                        
From party dresses to formal wear, Jolie & Elizabeth features two tags on every article of clothing: a “Made in Louisiana” tag and a “Made in America” tag. Jolie & Elizabeth prides itself on “exercising the privilege of designing, manufacturing, selling, and shipping American made fashion":
“Unlike purchasing a product that was manufactured overseas, 100% of a JE purchase stays in America, stays at home – a country we’re proud to call home.  We challenge consumers to educate themselves on thoughtful purchases and begin to demand locally produced material, which redirects the profit back to the United States and will in turn assist the United States’ quest for economic sustainability.”
Since the company launched four years ago, it has been frequently featured in media and pop culture.  Five months following after their initial launch, the designers were named among the “Top 30 People to Watch 2010” by New Orleans Magazine. They have also been featured in the Top 100 Entrepreneurs List by the White House, the prestigious Empact 100 List, Southern Living Magazine and Forbes.
Actress Zooey Deschanel even donned a Jolie & Elizabeth dress on the FOX comedy New Girl. That particular "white with navy seersucker detail strapless dress" was promptly renamed “The Zooey Dress.”
Jolie & Elizabeth aims to maintain quality and timelessness in its American-made apparel.
“Trends come and go, but a true Southern girl knows good style and good attitude go hand in hand,” the company explains on its website. “And there’s nothing more charmingly irresistible than that.”
AAM intern Lauren Pak authored this report.

19.6.14

Capitol Hill Looks Long and Hard at Dog Treats and Processed Chicken in China

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Feeding the family dog a biscuit may not turn out to be such a treat after all.
1,000 dogs have died, 10 percent of America’s pig population is gone, 5,600 more pets are sick, and three people are ill. And poor safety measures in China may be the cause.

A hearing on “Pet Treats and Processed Chicken from China: And Concerns for American Consumers and Pets,” chaired by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, was held earlier this week in an attempt to clarify the issue.
Labels and a lack of transparency may be the reason health safety has gotten lost in the back-and-forth between China and the US. Last year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allowed processed chicken to be exported from China; but this has spiraled into confusion over where food is made, and regulation has become lost in the process.
"The word of the Chinese government is usually not trustworthy," Smith said. "There's always laced in there a whole deal of misinformation, lying and deceit. It's not a stretch to say if we rely on them for documentation, that's an Achilles heel that is huge."
Brown, for his part, questioned the accuracy of “Made in the USA” labels pet food and processed chicken, and the safety of those products that had no label at all. 
“Americans want and require better answers, clearer labels, and the peace of mind that the foods we import from China are safe,” he said.
"I'll have to get back to you on that."
The first two panel witnesses were Tracey Forfa of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Dr. Daniel Engeljohn of the USDA.
Dr. Engeljohn explained the mandate of the Office of Field Operations, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) under the USDA. The FSIS has a three-part process to examine and inspect all slaughtered and processed livestock and poultry before human consumption.
“The agency doesn’t have any information about how much processed product it expects China to ship once certification is up and running,” he said.
Forfa was asked if chicken from China might potentially infiltrate school lunches.
“I’ll have to get back to you on that,” she replied.
According to the FDA’s May report specifically addressing jerky pet treats, they have been aware of the growing number of pets that have become ill from eating the treats for the past seven years. The report even prompted Petco and Petsmart to issue statements saying they would no longer retail pet treats manufactured in China. 
But the lack of confidence and hesitation to give definitive answers from some of the witnesses reinforces the need for clarity on edible Chinese exports.
Brown announces amendment
Following the hearing Sen. Brown announced he is introducing an amendment to the 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Bill to address the safety of exports from China’s food-processing facilities.  The amendment would require the FDA and USDA to update Congress on their efforts to obtain Chinese work visas for U.S. food safety inspectors, as well as on the adequacy of their investigations into processing facilities. 
The reasoning behind that amendment is pretty simple: We need to know the food we eat and which we feed to our pets won’t kill us or make us sick. Is that too much to ask?  

16.6.14

University of Virginia Miller Center has Interesting Ideas on Building a Nation of Makers

'Last Friday, the University of Virginia’s Miller Center was at the Press Club of America in Washington, DC to release “Building a Nation of Makers: Six Ideas to Accelerate the Innovated Capacity of America’s Manufacturing SMEs.” The report was prepared by the Milstein Symposium, a five-year initiative launched in 2013 by the Miller Center to bring together policymakers, business and industry leaders, scholars, and journalists in bipartisan, innovative collaboration to rebuild the American Dream.  Its first symposium centers on a “Creating the Jobs of the Future” theme.

The first commission for this symposium was co-chaired by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, and focuses on how to facilitate sustainable growth of America’s SMEs -- small and medium enterprises. It presented its ideas as six policy suggestions:
  1. Talent Investment Loans to expand human capital
  2. Upside-Down Degrees to connect classroom learning with on-the-job learning
  3. A Skills Census to build a more efficient skilled labor force
  4. A National Supply Chain Initiative to fully map America’s manufacturing ecosystems
  5. Expanded Technology and Engineering Certification Programs for up-skilling high school students
  6. A “Big Trends-Small Firms” Initiative to diffuse the latest technologies to manufacturing SMEs
The second of three total commissions will be discussing entrepreneurship and self-employment: how we can “ensure that the latest innovations in information technology, collaborative networking, and advanced manufacturing are more widely available to help reverse this great “startup slowdown” and generate new jobs for the middle class.” We’ll be keeping an eye out for it. Until then, the entire “Buiding a Nation of Makers” report is available here.
AAM intern Lauren Pak authored this blog post.
Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. 

13.6.14

Need a Last-Minute Father's Day Gift? Check Out Frank Clegg Leatherworks


For more than 40 years, Frank Clegg has honed and perfected his skill of working with leather in his Massachusetts workshop. His company, Frank Clegg Leatherworks, designs and crafts a variety of products, including briefcases, luggage, backpacks, wallets, electronic cases, and belts.
The company’s website explains their pride in purely American-made design and production: “As a proud maker of heirloom-quality goods, we have always avoided outsourcing production from our workshop and never allowed overseas production to enter our mind.”
Clegg's craftsmanship and handiwork are family tradition. As Clegg writes on the company’s website: "'To be better, you have to be different.'" It's a lesson he learned from his father, who taught him trade standards. Meanwhile, his mother was a talented seamstress and his great grandfather was a tanner.
The small business been featured in numerous publications over the years, including Esquire Magazine, Boston Magazine, and GQ. The company produces leather goods that are enjoyed both domestically and internationally, from Hawaii to Hong Kong to Norway to Seoul.
More recently, another proudly-made American brand has established a partnership with Clegg Leatherworks: Kiel James Patrick. These two New England couture connoisseurs have teamed up to produce specially designed goods for leather featured in KJP’s products, such as their trademark bracelets. The KJP brand also supports Clegg’s brand by endorsing the quality leather products alongside their fellow American-made crafts.
Frank Clegg Leatherworks products are available for purchase online.
AAM Intern Lauren Pak authored this blog post.
Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. 

6.6.14

Manufacturers on the Homefront Helped Allies Achieve Victory on D-Day

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. The lives of more than 100,000 soldiers from both the Allied and the Axis powers were lost, and this day in 1944 is considered the turning point for the Allies in World War II. 
About 300,000 allied soldiers launched a semi-amphibious attack with a giant armada of 54,000 warships. Flying above were aircraft equipped with bombs and other weaponry. And the soldiers who came ashore were armed with the valor and bravery needed to change the course of history.
The 16 million men and women called for duty trusted that their fellow Americans back home would be there to support them.  The citizens on the home front assumed this responsibility, manufacturing supplies and weaponry that would set records and help the Allied powers achieve victory. 
“We sometimes forget, I think, that you can manufacture weapons, and you can purchase ammunition, but you can’t buy valor and you can’t pull heroes off an assembly line,” said Sergeant John Ellery, a D-Day veteran who served with the 16th Infantry Regiment of the US 1st Division, in Stephen Ambrose's book D-Day.

Support from the Home Front
As the fate of the world changed with this and every battle in World War II, the American home front also underwent a dramatic transformation. With the war raging on across the Atlantic, there was not one American citizen whose lifestyle was not affected. 
About 16 million men and women had been called to war, leaving behind a demand for people to assume manufacturing jobs that were needed to support troops fighting overseas. In response to these drastic changes, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Production Board in 1942 and the Office of War Mobilization in 1943. 
The War Production Board was an emergency response that converted peacetime industries and expanded them to serve war needs, allocated essential materials, and oversaw production of non-essentials.
“Powerful enemies must be out-fought and out-produced,” Roosevelt told Congress. “It is not enough to turn out just a few more planes, a few more tanks, a few more guns, a few more ships than can be turned out by our enemies. We must out-produce them overwhelmingly, so that there can be no question of our availability to provide a crushing superiority of equipment in any theatre of the world war.”
An industrial revolution took place on a massive scale, as car manufacturers shifted gears to produce machine parts and vehicles of war, clothing factories churned out camouflage netting, lipstick tubes were converted to ammunition cases, and vacuum cleaners were converted into gas masks.
Companies tasked with this wartime production included Chrysler, which manufactured fuselages; and General Motors, which made airplane engines, guns, trucks and tanks. Meanwhile, Ford, Boeing, and the Lockheed Aircraft Company helped with aircraft; General Motors, General Electric, and Colt Firearms helped with small arms; Buick, Ford, and General Motors helped with vehicles; and Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, and Read machinery helped with artillery.  
According to statistics from the National World War II Museum, 2,000 aircraft were manufactured in 1939 in the United States. By 1945, the number had quadrupled to 16,000 aircraft annually.
Turning Point for the Economy, Too
Economics-wise, things also began to improve as the war progressed, as wartime production boomed, helping to lift the economy out of the shadows of the Great Depression.
By the end of the war in 1945, over half of all industrial production in the world would be American-made. 
The remarkable economic and social transformation that took place during World War II has been a source of curiosity for historians, economists, and politicians. It was World War II that broke America from the latency and stagnancy of the Great Depression, yielding a victory in war and on the home front. 
Economists classify economic activity into agricultural, service, and industrial sectors.  Through the 19th century, the United States was primary agricultural.  But the late 19th century through the early 20th century, America saw a rise in industry that propelled the nation to be the industrial powerhouse of the world by 1950. 
Normandy remembered.
As tradition dictates, leaders from around the world united in Normandy today to honor the bravery and sacrifice made by the troops who fought on D-Day.  Also invited were veterans who have this day ingrained in their memories. 
This year is exceptionally notable: many of the veterans who once stood alongside each other in sharing this memory have passed and those who will be returning to Normandy this year are aware of the significance of what could be their final visit. 
“I know very well that for the 80th anniversary, I might not be there, and I am afraid people might forget the war, and the misery that it brought,” said Bernard Dargols, a 94-year-old veteran of the United States Army, told Time magazine.
But for at least today, D-Day is remembered.
AAM Intern Lauren Pak authored this post.
Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.