For one, image is everything, Kyser told an audience of about 50.
“This is really a significant issue,” Kyser said. “People look at industrial as being dirty, and it’s not. Most of our industrial now is high-end.”
Beautifying industrial areas is one step cities can take to promote a positive public image of manufacturing and industrial sectors — which are commonly associated with either sweatshops or pollution, Kyser said.
The city’s San Fernando Corridor beautification project will accomplish that goal, City Councilman Frank Quintero said.
“As a city, we have to do everything we can to retain the manufacturing base because of the high wages and benefits the jobs it provides,” Quintero said.
There are several factors working against the manufacturing and industrial sector, Kyser said.
“Nationally, manufacturing is struggling,” he said.
Employment in manufacturing has dipped in the state and county since 2000 and 2001, he said. Permits awarded to industrial buildings are also the lowest in Los Angeles County since 1995. Rising costs in construction materials and gas will also contribute to job loss, he said.
And foreign countries such as China can produce goods at a much cheaper cost, he said.
“I think we’re probably going to see these continue with job declines,” he said.
But there are redeeming factors in the region’s economy that can help turn around that trend, said Debbie Kukta, chairwoman of the manufacturing sector subcommittee of the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board, a nonprofit that offers employment and training services to residents of Glendale and surrounding communities.