Manufacturing Matters

One NAM: Building a Structure for Success

Manufacturers across America need to shape public understanding through education, as much as through traditional advocacy. And, at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), The Manufacturing Institute has addressed that need—and served a singular role in defining our future.

The Institute is the leader in shaping the national conversation on manufacturing careers and providing workforce solutions for manufacturers. The Institute is behind the Dream It. Do It. program, to engage young people in manufacturing; our skills certification program; the Get Skills to Work initiative for veterans; perception programming; and the STEP Awards, to honor leading women in manufacturing.

Yet, there’s far more to do. According to the Institute’s recent study, the skills gap is expected to leave 2 million jobs unfilled in our industry over the next 10 years. Many students and parents still have an outdated perception of manufacturing in the United States.

That’s why during the recent NAM Board of Directors meeting, Institute Trustees formally voted to take the Institute to the next level and align it with the NAM as a “sole member” organization. This was the culmination of many months of work by Institute President Jennifer McNelly, NAM senior staff and the leadership of Institute Trustees.

So what does this mean?

This process of alignment now allows us to serve manufacturers as “One NAM” without many of the restrictions that we faced in our previous structure. The Institute will still be a distinct entity, but it will be governed by a five-member Board of Directors, led by Jennifer and overseen by our chief operating officer.

Jennifer and the amazing Institute team have achieved significant successes over the past few years, despite having a relatively small staff. Now that we are aligned, we will be able to grow the Institute and pursue more expanded solutions for manufacturers. Importantly, we will now be able to build out new types of services to support our members.

Through our strengthened partnership, over time we will be able to:

  • Advance workforce solutions;
  • Develop manufacturing research;
  • Provide economic analysis;
  • Bolster the perception of modern manufacturing; and
  • Provide opportunities for manufacturing professionals to discuss industry trends and emerging issues.

The “2020 Vision” set the NAM on a course to both strengthen manufacturing and secure American Exceptionalism. The alignment of the Institute and the NAM—together as “One NAM”—moves us closer to realizing that vision and meeting our goals.


This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Member Focus.