Reuters essays a “Special Report” on manufacturing in the United States — it looks like a package intended for the Sunday papers — and it’s a thorough, serious effort to assess the strengths, weaknesses and challenges facing businesses and workers.

Included in the piece is a discussion of education and training to improve the skills of manufacturing workers, using as an example the efforts of the National Association of Manufacturers and Lorain County Community College outside of Cleveland. The college is a leader in implementing the NAM’s Manufacturing Skills Certification System, and not surprisingly, LCCC has record enrollment this term.

The reporters also provide useful government and political context on the issue of infrastructure and infrastructure spending. President Obama recently reasserted his interest in infrastructure spending, but there is skepticism. Excerpt:

Manufacturing executives like Ron DeFeo, who runs Terex Corp, and labor union chiefs like Bob King, the new head of the UAW, rarely see eye to eye. But ask them to assess the federal government’s response to the unemployment crisis, and their responses are remarkably consistent — and not just in the critical tone they take.

Both fault lawmakers, including President Obama, for failing to make job creation the No. 1 priority over the past two years and insist Washington, D.C. could have put millions of construction and manufacturing workers back to work by funneling more money into infrastructure improvements.

In early September, Obama belatedly signaled his support for some added infrastructure investment along the lines that DeFeo has urged and King has marched for. But his proposal, outlined in a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, falls short of what even leading members of his own party have advocated.

A credible report, well worth reading, “Blue-collar, unemployed and seeing red.” The entire pacakage, with photos, videos, charts and the like is available here as a .pdf file.