Manufacturing report shows Philly can attract more high-tech business

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 William Hunt of AgustaWestland stands in front of a $3.5 million helicopter his company built in Philadelphia (Tom MacDonald/for NewsWorks)

William Hunt of AgustaWestland stands in front of a $3.5 million helicopter his company built in Philadelphia (Tom MacDonald/for NewsWorks)

Philadelphia is no longer the “workshop of the world,” but a task force has released a blueprint for bringing more manufacturing jobs to town.

Standing in front of a $3.5 million helicopter his company built in Philadelphia, William Hunt of the AgustaWestland Corporation said that, with the right training, Philadelphia can attract new manufacturers to town.

“We must focus high school and technical education programs on science, technology, engineering and math to support manufacturers and close the skills gap,” Hunt said Thursday. “We must expand technical training programs offered by the community college to align with the needs of the manufacturing sector.”

Philadelphia Councilman Bobby Henon said he’s optimistic that, with the right incentives, manufacturing will return.

“The report’s bottom line is simple — manufacturing matters for families like mine and thousands more across the region,” said Henon, whose father worked for the Budd Company, which used to stamp out body panels for car makers.

“It matters because it could bring back jobs to our neighborhoods,” Henon said. “It matters because we can come out of this recent recession and become an advanced manufacturing hub in the coming decades.”

Mayor Michael Nutter said he will put together a working group to review the recommendations, including proposed tax breaks and job-training incentives.

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