Indow gives Merkley a window into manufacturing

Sen. Jeff Merkley (left) revealed his manufacturing job creation strategies with Indow Windows' CEO Sam Pardue.

One of Portland's signature sustainable businesses provided a backdrop for the unveiling of a potentially major jobs initiative.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley hit Indow Windows Friday as he introduced the Manufacturing Jobs for America plan. Merkley wants to spur bipartisan support for legislation he believes will update the country's manufacturing sector.

The package includes 40 bills.

“Congress should be focused on creating jobs for our middle class families not fighting about shutting down the government,” Merkley said. “Washington can and should do a lot to expand manufacturing, because if we don’t build things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America.”

Twenty-nine percent of Oregon's gross state product comes from the manufacturing sector, the highest rate in the nation. Manufacturing workers collect 22 percent more in annual pay and benefits than average workers in other industries.

Merkley has written two of the bills he's pushing. The BUILD Career and Technical Education Act would support career and technical education in middle schools and high schools. The Job Creation through Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act would provide grants that back expanded industrial energy efficiency financing programs.

Indow and its CEO Sam Pardue, have captured several awards for sustainable manufacturing. The company came in second place nationally during the 2011 Cleantech Open. Pardue won a special honor at this year's Better Bricks Awards and nabbed an Innovation in Sustainability award from SBO last year.

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