Manufacturing is in need of a makeover. Ever since COVID-19 hit our shores, raw materials are less accessible, and the bitter cocktail of globalization and nationalism has created tensions within the manufacturing world. It exposed just how fragile our supply chains were, spurring a movement toward deglobalization and an investment into modernizing and strengthening our homegrown manufacturing industry in the United States.
This investment has yielded some interesting positive results within central North Carolina. In this past year, a pottery manufacturer in Burlington blossomed in the home goods boom and developed a new management structure. A sewing company in Asheboro went from making T-shirts to PPE, reorganized its factory, and dramatically expanded its operations.
Both manufacturing companies benefited tremendously from a government program that offers free or low-cost consulting services from distinguished engineers, academics, and businesspeople.
Under the CARES Act passed last year, the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership has used $1.5 million from the grant to develop programs that have helped North Carolina manufacturers cope with the effects of COVID-19.