A CFM survey identified a serious problem for the region’s manufacturing industry: It had a Rodney Dangerfield challenge — no respect. Although manufacturing made up nearly 20 percent of the region’s economy and employed 14 percent of the workforce, its contributions were little appreciated. A handful of companies, working with the Portland Development Commission and Clackamas County, turned to CFM to create the Manufacturing 21 Coalition.
CFM services played a vital role:
- Public Affairs: CFM organized the Coalition, which grew from a small core group to more than 80 members. CFM Partner Norm Eder has served as the Coalition’s executive director and the firm has provided support services.
- Research: Early in the process, CFM assessed manpower, training and skill-set needs among Manufacturing 21 members to shape an agenda. Research consisted of one-on-one executive interviews and an online survey.
- State and Federal lobbying: Once formed, the Coalition turned its attention to key industry concerns, such as encouraging public investments in industry-scale applied research and workforce training. CFM won local and federal appropriations to support the R&D and worker training agenda. State lobbying secured additional support.
- Public Relations: To give the Coalition a voice and tell memorable stories, CFM created a website and conducted media relations.
Results: Since the Coalition was formed, it has raised millions of dollars in federal support, as well as creating partnerships with the region’s colleges, universities and worker training centers. The Coalition has become the go-to voice for the manufacturing.