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No. 1: John Kennedy

Manufacturing Power 50

John Kennedy, CEO, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program.

Kennedy – NJMEP

Kennedy is the CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, which claims credit for more than $1 billion in products and services sold. Kennedy’s job is to set the organization’s strategic direction while striking partnerships and developing new initiatives.

NJMEP is a nonprofit organization that assesses, consults, trains and advocates on behalf of manufacturing companies. In this way, the organization helps businesses to improve their profitability and competitiveness.

Backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NJMEP provides workforce development programs, supports entry-level training, provides credentials to state residents and offers employment to New Jersey’s underserved residents, such as veterans. Kennedy’s work focuses on what is one of the state’s most pressing issues: narrowing the skills gap and aiding in the expansion of the state’s talent pipeline.

According to the NJMEP, it helped create or retain 36,951 jobs between the years 2000 to 2019.

Kennedy told NJBIZ that New Jersey provides more than 378,000 manufacturing jobs with an average salary of more than $90,000 per year. As manufacturers struggle to find skilled workers, Kennedy and the organization he runs will be at the forefront of the effort to make the industry work in New Jersey.

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