U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D- Long Branch) spent time Monday at a Piscatway manufacturing company to learn what it will take to grow the industry in New Jersey.
Siemens Hearing Instruments manufactures one-third of the hearing aids purchased around the world, and has been growing its Central Jersey headquarters, plant, and research and development center. The company currently employs more than 400 people at the Piscataway location.
“We’re always talking about trying to increase manufacturing nationally, but also, particularly for New Jersey, I think the R&D function is important,” Pallone said, citing Siemens development of a waterproof hearing aid and an invisible hearing aid this year.
Pallone toured the facility, met with executives, and then held a forum to hear from workers as part of his work on behalf of the “Make It In America” agenda, which is a set of laws and ideas championed by democratic members of Congress designed to increase manufacturing jobs in the United States.
Pallone said he enjoys speaking to frontline workers, because “often, they’re the ones developing new ways of doing things.”
“When we make products in America, we create jobs, we grow the economy and we generate economic opportunities in the years ahead,” Pallone said. “There’s a lot that needs to be done.”
Several “Make It In America” bills already have been signed into law, including the U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act, intended to decrease costs of materials for manufacturers.
Pallone said he is focused on extending a payroll tax credit and an R&D tax credit, as well as boosting clean energy job incentives. He is also concerned in reciprocal Fair Trade practices and retraining workers for more in-demand jobs.
He said he hopes to tour more facilities in the state as he works on the initiative.