2013 Better Government Competition Winner: Manufacturing Revitalization

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We were pleased to learn of the announcement this week of a Manufacturing Caucus in the state Legislature, led by Senator Richard Moore and Representative John Fernandes.
Photo by Mary Roy http://marylouroy.comState House News Service reports that the caucus will support workforce training, to address a problem highlighted recently by Pioneer’s 2013 Better Government Competition winner, Michael Munday, CEO of Newburyport-based Arwood Machine Corp.

Munday’s submission, “Manufacturing Revitalization,” calls for realigning On-the-Job Training (OJT) programs, and is drawn from his experience as a manufacturing CEO and his 15 years of service on Massachusetts’ regional workforce investment boards. His proposal seeks to overcome hiring obstacles that often arise in traditional government-subsidized job training programs. If implemented, the plan would connect the unemployed to jobs and then provide them with the specific skills required to meet their host employers’ immediate needs.

Current job training too often works in the opposite direction: unemployed job seekers go through training programs and then hope they find jobs that match the skills they’ve acquired. The former guarantees a fit between jobs and skills. The latter remains a guessing game in which job seekers hope they pick the right training program for the jobs that will be available 3, 6, 9 months from now.

You can read more about Munday’s proposal in our Compendium of Winning Entries, or this summary; read a great profile in the Daily News of Newburyport.


Pioneer Institute’s Better Government Competition, founded in 1991, is an annual citizens’ ideas contest that rewards some of the nation’s most innovative public policy proposals. The 2013 competition focused on reforms that facilitate job growth, and Pioneer received hundreds of proposals on topics ranging from improving job training and vocational education programs to removing legal and regulatory barriers preventing small businesses from hiring more employees.

Eight other proposals were selected as finalists as part of the 22nd annual Better Government Competition.


Runners Up:

  • Freeing Entrepreneurs from Overreaching Government Regulations“: Proposal to reduce and streamline municipal regulations, to expand employment opportunities in taxicab, commercial kitchen, and home-based businesses. This entry, if implemented in Boston, would address the city’s corrupt taxicab industry, the subject of a recent Boston Globe Spotlight Team report showing bribery, exploitation of drivers, $600,000 medallions, and the fourth highest fares in the country. Authors: Shira Rawlinson and Dana Berliner, Institute for Justice, in Arlington, VirginiaRead more.
  • Promoting High-Impact Startups to Create a More Robust Economy“: Start-up acceleration program giving high-growth entrepreneurs the mentorship, training, and financial resources they need to create jobs and innovation. Since 2010, this program has served 361 start-ups, which have created 2,912 jobs (2,000 in Massachusetts); raised $362 million in funding; and generated $96 million in revenue. Authors: Jibran Malek and Veronica del Rosario, MassChallenge, Inc., in Boston, MassachusettsRead more.
  • Reinventing the Local Economy Through Sustainable Urban Redevelopment“: Comprehensive model for innovative economic development that revitalized the City of North Charleston, S.C., after a major naval base closure in 1996. Plan includes significant community input, public-private initiatives, worker retraining programs, recruitment of manufacturing, promotion of technology firms, and investments in streetscape improvements and conservation. Authors:Keith West and Ryan Johnson, City of North Charleston, South CarolinaRead more.
  • Evaluating State Incentives for Business“: Three-part assessment system to help state economic development agencies distinguish between policies that are net contributors to the economy from those that are merely selective handouts. Massachusetts currently spends or forgoes in tax revenue $2.26 billion per year on jobs incentives, ranking among the highest in the country on a per capita basis. Author: Ben Zimmer, Connecticut Policy Institute, New Haven, ConnecticutRead more.

Special Recognition Awardees:

  • A Step-By-Step Solution to Massachusetts Persistent Jobs Crisis – Mike Hruby, New Jobs for Massachusetts, Boxborough, MA: A proposal to eliminate two significant legal barriers to job growth in Massachusetts: the independent contractor law and the tax on business inventories.
  • CropCircle Kitchen, Inc. – Jonathan D. Kemp, Jamaica Plain, MA: A program encouraging aspiring culinary entrepreneurs by providing access to kitchen and culinary equipment, training and development aid.
  • Job Creation on a Budget – Mark Muro and Kenan Fikri, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.: Recommendations for effective state support of regional industry clusters and entrepreneurship in both metropolitan and rural areas.
  • Step-Up Achieve – Jeremiah Brown, Minneapolis, MN: A public-private partnership providing workplace experience to low-income and minority youth.


Pioneer recognized the winners at the 22nd annual Better Government Competition Awards Ceremony, on September 30th in Boston. The winner received a $10,000 prize, and the four runners up received $1,000 each.