Forty years ago, Baltimore was a major manufacturing center. One third of the city’s workforce was employed in factories both large and small. Today, just 5% of Charm City’s workforce earns a living making things. That decline has played out in cities across the country. US manufacturing employment peaked in 1979, and it’s been declining ever since, down to just 9% of the national workforce today. Baltimore's manufacturing base has suffered, just like everywhere else in the nation, from cheap labor overseas, surging imports, new technologies and a changing business climate.
Today we’re going to look at the evolving state of manufacturing in Baltimore, through the lens of three innovators who’ve been working in various ways to foster a flowering of small business manufacturing and artisan craftwork such as textiles and furniture-making.
Will Holman is the General Manager of Open Works, the 11-point-5-million-dollar “makerspace” that opened September 19th in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, near Greenmount Cemetery. He’s an architect by training, and also a furniture maker.
Andy Cook is the founder of the Made in Baltimore Campaign, a project of The Baltimore City Planning Department’s Office of Sustainability. Made in Baltimore is partnering with the Urban Manufacturing Alliance on a study to assess the State of Urban Manufacturing across the country. Baltimore will serve as one of the case study cities.
Rasheed Aziz is here as well. Six years ago, he started the Citywide Youth Entrepreneurship Program to work with teens in Baltimore's most distressed neighborhoods.
They all join Tom in the studio.