Small business takes center stage during address

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: February 7, 2014 10:46 am ET
Updated: February 7, 2014 10:53 am ET

Image By: Rich Williams

President Obama's Jan. 28 State of the Union address featured numerous shout outs to small business — including among the First Lady's guests, the plastics industry's own Andra Rush, founder and CEO of Detroit Manufacturing Systems Ltd., which molds and assembles injection molded trim pieces for automotive interiors.

But was there anything else in the one-hour-and-five-minute speech with a plastics angle? Maybe not directly. But there was quite a bit for business, particularly small business owners.

"[Rush] knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make them. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center — places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or better job. She was flooded with new workers. And today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees."

The president also said his administration is on a mission to revamp training programs and community colleges to "make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now." That's a potential boon for plastics processors who have long lamented a lack of skilled labor, particularly in the automotive sector.

"[W]hen 98 percent of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create more jobs. We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers, protect our environment, and open new markets to new goods stamped 'Made in the USA'."

The Asia-Pacific markets are already a hot topic for the Society of the Plastics Industry, with three trade missions planned to the region for 2014: a trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam March 4-6, a visit to Seoul, South Korea in May and a return trip to Ho Chi Minh City in September.

Even if a smaller company is wary of making its first international leap, "I encourage people to go just for exploratory purposes," said Michael Taylor, senior director of international affairs and trade at SPI. "You can get to know the culture and begin building relationships, which are the keys to your business success outside the U.S."

"Let's do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don't have a pension. A Social Security check often isn't enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn't help folks who don't have 401ks."

The new MyRA retirement savings plan could take some of the saving stress off small employers' plates. MyRAs will initially be offered via a pilot program through employers who choose to participate by the end of this year. The accounts cost employers little to nothing to start since they will neither administer nor contribute to them, unlike the existing SIMPLE IRA program for small businesses. And since MyRA is being created with an Executive Order, it doesn't require an act of Congress to get rolling.

Controlled by individual participants, MyRAs will work much like Roth IRAs: the money can be withdrawn tax-free at any time without penalty, contributions as small as $5 can be made pre-tax through payroll deductions and investment in the Treasury-created security fund can't be lost. At either the $15,000 or 30-year mark, the MyRA is rolled into a private sector retirement account.

Putrich is a Plastics News staff reporter based in Washington.


Comments

Small business takes center stage during address

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: February 7, 2014 10:46 am ET
Updated: February 7, 2014 10:53 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

There is no such thing as 'summer break' when you're in the plastics news business

July 31, 2014 10:51 am ET

There's a rhythm in most businesses. The ups and downs of the business cycle paint the big picture. In between, there's the annual schedule that...    More

Image

Better tariff strategy needed in India

July 22, 2014 12:39 pm ET

What's the best way for an emerging economy to strengthen an under-developed plastics industry? Protective tariffs around key sectors, or open the...    More

Market Reports

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events