GE brought together experts for a four-day summit in Washington, DC, focused on the nation’s long-term economic and industry growth. Starting today, they will share ideas on “what works in America,” with discussions centered on manufacturing, innovation, jobs and trade.
GE used the opening day to announce new commitments to strengthening America’s global competitiveness by building a highly skilled workforce, lowering health care costs and supporting the integration of the nation’s veterans into the labor force. “American business can compete and win anywhere,” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said. “There are companies and communities all across the country that are leading the way. We know that renewing American manufacturing works; affordable healthcare works; high-skill training works; investing in people works; supporting customers works; accessing global markets works. We should have the confidence to act and to restore American competitiveness.”
The new programs announced today included pilot partnerships to improve healthcare delivery and lower medical costs in Louisville, Kentucky and Erie, Pennsylvania. They build on the success of a similar project in Cincinnati, Ohio, which opened over 100 new primary care centers, cut ER visits and hospital admissions by a fifth, and reduced hospital costs.
GE said that it would hire 5,000 new veterans over the next five years and help integrate many more in the workforce as a sponsor of the “Hire our Heroes” partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The company will also launch skill-building centers called “GE Garages,” double the number of engineering internships to 5,000, and introduce new tools to help GE businesses better understand their customers and become more competitive. The company will also partner with GOOD/Corps on the What Works Project, a new interactive platform that invites the public to submit stories, images and videos showing examples of what is helping American companies compete on global markets.
The What Works Project will award up to $10,000 each week from February through November 2012 to selected non-profit organizations that support American jobs and skills training. The What Works Project will also reward individual daily cash prices of $500 for the participants whose submissions receive the most votes.
Each day of the summit will be organized around a different theme, starting today with American manufacturing, and moving on to innovation and global competitiveness. The event will conclude on Thursday with focus on veterans, reservists, and job creation. The full agenda is available online.
The list of leaders attending the event includes House Speaker John Boehner, Secretary of Veteran Affairs General Eric K. Shinseki, Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney, and many others.
GE has been a leader in the revival of U.S. manufacturing. Today the company said that it would invest $580M in Aviation manufacturing and research & development in the U.S. The investments will support growing production rates and product offerings. GE Aviation alone will add more than 400 new manufacturing jobs and open three new plants under construction in Ellisville, Mississippi, Auburn, Alabama, and Dayton, Ohio in 2013.
The plants are part of GE’s plans to build 16 new factories in the U.S. Last week GE began production on its first new product line in Louisville in over 50 years. Last year, GE said that it would open more than 8,000 new American jobs, bringing the total over 13,500 jobs since 2009.