Washington, D.C., 02/12/13 -
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the voice of 12 million men and women who make things in America. One of those proud members of the manufacturing workforce is Bradley Henning, a journeyman machinist at Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc., in Louisville, Ky., who will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama for the State of the Union address tonight. Manufacturers are eager to hear from the President about how to maintain our competitive edge by improving skills training for students and workers for the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow.
This unique opportunity for Mr. Henning exemplifies the important role that manufacturing plays in policy debates on growing our economy and manufacturing workforce. In the wake of a presidential election in which a majority of voters said they considered manufacturing jobs when deciding for whom to vote, 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the manufacturer. It is critical that the right policies follow this attention.
“Throughout the country, manufacturers like Atlas struggle to find employees with the necessary skills for the jobs available in today’s manufacturing,” said Atlas Machine & Supply’s President and NAM Board Member Rich Gimmel. “Skills training and apprentice programs are critically important to help fill the need for skilled workers in manufacturing, which can lead to long-term successful careers for students. Bradley is a great example of how the right training beginning in high school and continuing after can lead to a successful career as a journeyman machinist. We are happy that Bradley was invited to be the First Lady’s guest to attend such an important event.”
Mr. Henning is a graduate of the machinist apprenticeship program at Atlas. His career began with skills training in high school and led to him completing the mandatory classroom hours and on-the-job training necessary to receive his journeyman’s card in July 2012.
“We’re delighted that Bradley will represent our workforce at tonight’s State of the Union address,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “His story underscores what we told Congress in testimony last week—acquiring skills that are in demand by employers is probably the soundest investment an individual can make. Manufacturers are encouraged that Washington is taking notice of the skills gap.”
In June 2011, President Obama endorsed the Manufacturing Institute’s NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System. Closing the skills gap is crucial to manufacturers’ ability to compete globally, as 75 percent of manufacturers say the skills shortage has negatively impacted their ability to expand. Nearly 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled today because employers are unable to find workers with the right skills.