Harry Moser, founder of national nonprofit The Reshoring Initiative, visited with county and state officials Monday and today to talk about reshoring and what it would take for more local manufacturing companies to bring jobs they've sent offshore back to the country and the region.
He said reshoring has been spurred by the 15-to-18-percent increase in the cost of labor in China, the rise in oil prices that increases shipping costs, reduced natural-gas and electricity rates domestically, and benefits of having manufacturing and engineering teams under one roof.
Moser said there are two necessities for reshoring to happen. The first is education to ensure companies understand the cost benefits of bringing their workforce back to America.
“We try to tell people it’s about cost, it’s not about price,” Moser said. “When we have people sharpen their pencils and do the math, the costs are much more favorable than people believe they are to do business here.”
The second is having a skilled workforce ready to fill the warehouses if companies bring the jobs back. He said that starts by referring to warehouse jobs as “professions,” and not “vocations.”
“We need more people to get into these technical fields,” he said, adding that Harrisburg Area Community College sent representatives to his presentation. “These are very well-trained people making a lot of money, but when you hear the word ‘vocation,’ many people already believe that’s not a true ‘profession.’”
Moser cited local companies such as Armstrong World Industries Inc. in Lancaster County and Unilife Corp. in York County that have recently brought offshore jobs back to the region because the cost of doing business domestically has now reached levels comparable to doing business abroad.
Moser was invited to the area by Nutec Group, an architectural engineering firm with 60 employees in Springettsbury Township. Dave Yarrish, a mechanical engineer at Nutec, said he was impressed by the turnout of more than 30 state and local officials to hear Moser.
“We’re motivated to find companies that would want to move back,” he said. “And there were a lot of other people who were just as interested.”