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Va. Center Aims To Help US Reclaim Manufacturing

From a workforce standpoint, Barry Johnson, senior associate dean at the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science, said the collaboration allows universities to better understand what types of jobs and skills needed in the advanced manufacturing workplace, ultimately putting the U.S. in a better position to attract factories that may have otherwise gone to areas overseas.

"Companies have the ability to put these businesses anywhere in the world, and they're going to put them where those factors are favorable to them," Johnson said. "We in the U.S., we can compete with China, we can compete with India, we can compete with other parts of the world that have low labor rates."

Lohr agrees.

"The opportunity to reclaim manufacturing as a viable industry in the United States is there for the taking, if you do it with advanced manufacturing processes," he said. "While it may not create jobs as you might have had in a classic factory, what it is creating is a very high-value job."

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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