Cities and Community Leaders Gather in San Jose to Celebrate Bay Area Manufacturing

On November 9th, cities, business groups, and nonprofits from around the Bay Area gathered in San Jose to celebrate urban manufacturing at the third annual Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Summit. The event highlighted changes that are happening in the sector across the region. The verdict: Despite many challenges, manufacturing in the Bay Area is thriving, largely due to the proximity to Silicon Valley’s knowledge economy, a skilled workforce, and a desire of residents and businesses to purchase locally made goods.

Michael Hernandez of Evergreen Valley College and Larry Lyon of Cobham Microelectronic Solutions share their unique workforce partnership, on a rapid-fire panel moderated by OED’s Chris Burton.

In the past twelve months, the Bay Area has added 9,100 manufacturing jobs across the 9-county region, with 6,600 of those jobs being added in Santa Clara

County. San Jose Mayor Liccardo emphasized the City’s ongoing commitment to supporting manufacturing through preserving space for makers and investing in workforce training, adding “we are all in.”

The Mayor called out some of the San Jose manufacturers represented at the event, including Bestronics, Cobham, and Vander-Bend Manufacturing. He also acknowledged Michelle Acosta, a third-generation employee of Acosta Sheet Metal, a building materials supplier that employs 50 metal fabricators in East San Jose.

Nearly 30 cities were in attendance for the event, including cities as far away as Vallejo, Santa Rosa, and Vacaville. Other speakers included Congressman Ro Khanna, State Assemblymember Ash Kalra, and Panorea Avdis who leads the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The event also included three rapid-fire panel discussions moderated by OED’s Chris Burton. The panels focused on case studies of cross-sector partnerships, including a partnership between Cobham and Evergreen Valley Community College.

The Summit is the culmination of the Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Initiative, a region-wide initiative that seeks to bring together cities to advocate for and develop policies and programs in support of manufacturing. The initiative is led by SFMade, which recently launched a joint initiative with the City called Manufacture: San Jose (MFG:SJ). Since its launch in early 2018, MFG:SJ has begun working with dozens of the City’s over 1,200 manufacturing businesses, providing services ranging from business advisory to workforce development.

OED is proud to have San Jose be at the center of a thriving regional manufacturing economy. Manufacturing continues to support the innovation that occurs in our Valley and provide quality job opportunities for San Jose’s diverse workforce.