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Husco Provides Jobs to Afghan Refugees

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For Jason Schuetz, Husco’s vice president of global operations and advanced manufacturing, what started out as meeting a business need at his company has turned into something profoundly more fulfilling.

How it all started: The Waukesha, Wisconsin–based company, which specializes in hydraulic and electromechanical control systems, had open positions that needed to be filled—a challenge that many manufacturers face daily.

  • “We were struggling for a long time to fill the positions that we had open. And we knew that if we continued to think in conventional ways, we would get conventional output and that was not much,” said Schuetz.
  • “We were short a number of direct hire positions, similar to a lot of places in the area,” added Husco Director of Operations Mark Dreikosen. “We were looking for creative solutions to fill our staffing needs.”

An opportunity knocks: After months of minimal results in the hiring search, an opportunity was brought to Husco through Lutheran Social Services to help provide jobs for Afghan refugees who fled from the Taliban and relocated in Waukesha.

  • After many internal conversations and external meetings with Lutheran Social Services and Manpower International, a global workforce solutions company, Husco moved forward in March.
  • The result? Over the past several months, Husco has hired and welcomed 33 Afghan refugees.
  • “It was needs based, really, for Husco,” said Dreikosen. “Fortunately for us, it wasn’t the first time we’ve done something like this. We’ve helped support groups who have emigrated from Myanmar, formerly Burma, under similar context where there’s political unrest.”

Adapting to change: Schuetz said that 2016 experience helped Husco prepare for some of the challenges the company faced with regard to documentation, language and some cultural differences, but new challenges surfaced as well.

  • Schuetz said that being very fresh to the U.S. workforce, the refugees needed to be taught what the “professional expectations were in the U.S.”
  • Work instructions needed to be translated into Pashto and reformatted to accommodate reading from right to left rather than left to right.
  • “None of the individuals had licenses or had a means of getting to work,” said Schuetz. “So, we needed to quickly lean on and partner with Manpower—who has been vital in this—to help find and set up transportation.”
  • To accommodate religious needs, Husco set up multi-faith meditation spaces so the new employees can pray throughout the day. In addition, for a facility-wide event during Ramadan, the company catered appropriate food so individuals could still participate and be part of the team while practicing their religious obligations.

Breaking the language barrier: To help the refugees’ English-speaking skills, Husco ensures there are translators available on every shift.

  • Two employees, Hamza Jebran and Baitullah Jan—Afghan refugees themselves who studied English—serve as translators for their new colleagues. (Click here to watch an interview with Jebran.)
  • “Another of our employees, Habib, couldn’t speak a word of English when we first met him a few months ago, and now we can have a conversation with him,” said Dreikosen. “Sometimes we will have one of our employees come up during a shift meeting and teach the rest of the crew some Pashto as they’re trying to learn some English and share their culture at the same time. It’s really cool to see.”

Eager to learn: For Dreikosen, the refugees’ motivation and eagerness to learn transcend the language and other cultural differences.

  • “They’re as driven and motivated as any other employee who comes through Husco’s doors—and we caught on to that very quickly,” he said. “Their drive for success, given their situation, and how important it is to have a home and to feel welcomed, it’s inspiring.”

Strong foundation: Schuetz says that what has made Husco’s refugee program a success is the company’s strong foundation with its current employees.

  • “It’s been successful for us because we have always made it a point to treat our people fairly and with respect,” he said. “The refugees have been welcomed by their fellow employees because they know that we treat everyone this way, and we would help anyone. There are many challenges, but this team decided they were going to make this work, and every obstacle that they encountered, they knocked it down and moved the ball forward.”
  • The support from Husco has made the program a success: “It starts with our supervisors, our quality engineers, our technicians—they’re all in. They know there’s going to be bumps along the way, but they’ve bought in and know that this is the right thing to do,” said Dreikosen.
  • Dreikosen notes that Husco is now receiving more referrals and inquiries from job seekers of all sorts of backgrounds. They’ve heard about the good the company does and how welcoming it is, and that attention has made the company more attractive in the eyes of job seekers.

The last word: “When this opportunity was brought to us through Lutheran Social Services, we grabbed onto it tightly and realized that with the challenges that we were going to encounter day to day, the end game was so much greater,” said Schuetz. “It’s been rewarding in so many ways.”

What the NAM says: “With more than 900,000 open jobs in manufacturing, we need to attract and hire from the widest talent pool possible,” said Manufacturing Institute President Carolyn Lee. “When manufacturers hire refugees, they see fewer turnovers and increased efficiencies, and at the same time, they’re helping improve the lives of refugees, their families and communities. Increasing diversity in the talent pool and developing more inclusive workplaces strengthens the competitive advantage of our industry and our workforce.”

Press Releases

ICYMI: NAM’s Jay Timmons Discusses Creators Wanted, COVID-19 Vaccines and Reconciliation on CNBC

Watch Jay Timmons on CNBC

Timmons on Labor Shortages, Creators Wanted Campaign

“Let’s be upfront about it. We have a very severe worker shortage in our country right now. It’s why the NAM has been so focused on our Creators Wanted campaign, to attract that next generation of manufacturing workers, and we are in competition now all across every sector for workers.

“So, if you think about supply chain shortages, why is that happening? Part of it certainly is the pandemic and the ability for trade to move freely, but you also have issues of not enough people at factories producing the component parts that go into finished products. What does that lead to? That leads to higher prices. So, it’s a supply and demand issue. Jim Cramer earlier today talked about a focus on getting this worker shortage under control. He mentioned, for instance, one possibility of helping to deal with this is immigration reform and that he thinks that there is a potential bipartisan solution to that. I believe there is as well. We have been pushing that through our program called A Way Forward at the NAM for a number of years. We think that’s one thing that will help get the economy back and deal with some of these issues.”

Timmons on Separating Infrastructure Investment from the Budget Resolution

“I think it was an extraordinary achievement by the Senate, a bipartisan achievement by Republicans and Democrats to get that bill across the line. We said at the NAM from the start that we would see probably about $1.2 trillion without punishing and archaic tax increases that would take us back to a time when we weren’t able to invest and hire and grow wages like we have for the last three years…We think that this bipartisan solution needs to get across the finish line. This is a very big priority not only for the president, but also for the American people. We know that can get done.

“…the reconciliation package that may be being developed…we have some serious concerns. We will certainly oppose any of the archaic tax increases that have been discussed. We are hearing somewhere between $1.8 and $3.5 trillion on job creators in America. That would take us to where we were before the 2017 tax reforms, where, afterwards, as I said, we were able to have record investment, record job creation, record wage growth. Why would we ever want to undo that? We are watching that very closely. We will oppose the bill with any of those factors in there. We will oppose the pharmaceutical issues that are in those bills that will stop us from being able to deal with the next pandemic. And we are going to oppose the labor provisions that would drive a wedge between management and our workers. There are a lot of things in that bill we don’t like. But infrastructure, BIF as it’s called in Washington speak, needs to get across the line right away. It’s an accomplishment we can all be proud of.”

Timmons on the NAM’s Vaccine Mandates

“I am so proud of the NAM team…We had a…94% vaccine acceptance rate before we imposed the mandate, and since then…we have achieved 100%. And I am thrilled because our team cares about not only themselves and their families, but also the people that we interact with every day—our 14,000 member manufacturers across the country. It’s the responsible thing to do, and I am happy that team NAM came through.

“What I hear from every single CEO that we represent is that their number-one concern is their employees, the health of their employees, the health of their employees’ families and their communities…It’s become political at times, but it doesn’t need to be. The last administration through Operation Warp Speed helped develop a vaccine in just record time with all the safety protocols in place. This administration is executing the vaccinations across the country. It’s a bipartisan effort, a nonpartisan effort, I would say, to make sure that our communities are safe, that our country is safe and the world can return to normal. It’s the only way it’s going to happen—we know that.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.4 million men and women, contributes $2.44 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Encourage Congress to Find Pathway for Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation

Timmons: Bold, historic infrastructure investment will improve all of our lives

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the failure of the cloture vote on the bipartisan Senate infrastructure legislation.

“Bold, historic infrastructure investment will improve all of our lives, but it is especially critical to the future of manufacturing in America and to the livelihoods of America’s manufacturing workers. Making these investments in a bipartisan way will also help restore faith in our institutions. Of course, such historic achievements are never easy, so lawmakers should keep talking and continue their work. The more than 12 million men and women of the manufacturing workforce have confidence that our elected officials can show Americans and the world that they can lead and that the United States is going to keep moving forward so we can build to win.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers React to President Biden’s First Speech to Congress

Timmons: “Manufacturers are focused on building the next, post-pandemic world.”

Washington, D.C. – Following President Joe Biden’s first presidential address to Congress, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:

“Thanks to the leadership of vaccine manufacturers and the Biden administration’s successful vaccine distribution efforts, Americans are getting back to the activities and the people they love. Though the capacity limits in the House chamber tonight remind us that we still have a long way to go, our future is looking brighter.

“We look forward to working with President Biden to achieve historic infrastructure investment, including the many priorities offered in our ‘Building to Win’ plan, which, in addition to identifying areas of investment, also provides multiple funding solutions.

“Manufacturers have also provided roadmaps on critical issues ranging from immigration to climate change. We’re ready to work with President Biden and members of any party to deliver bipartisan progress on these issues and more, all while ensuring we’re strengthening the manufacturing workforce, not jeopardizing manufacturing growth in the United States.

“To that point, raising taxes on manufacturers—including many small businesses that pay at the individual rate—would stop our recovery in its tracks; we would lose 1 million jobs in just the first two years alone. Small manufacturers would be especially hard hit at this critical juncture, restricting their ability to raise wages and benefits, hire more workers and invest in their communities. Similarly, changes to the longstanding tax rules on the transfer of family businesses to the next generation of manufacturers would cost American jobs.

“Returning to archaic tax policies and one of the highest business tax rates in the developed world is not the way to build our future, nor are federal policies to force workers to join a union. Anti-worker policies like the PRO Act would inject uncertainty by driving a wedge in established employee–employer relationships and curtail future manufacturing investments that support our communities and families.

“As we continue to get armed against COVID-19, manufacturers are focused on building the next, post-pandemic world—one that affords even greater opportunity for all Americans.”

Background:

The NAM continues to put forward commonsense proposals to educate and inform policymakers on ways to strengthen manufacturing in America while achieving our shared objectives.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

What Can President Biden Do for Manufacturers?

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The new president’s actions on his first day included some policies that the NAM endorsed and some it didn’t. But thanks to a longstanding and warm relationship with President Biden, the NAM is looking forward to productive conversations with the new administration.

Those conversations now center on a list of executive orders that NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons sent to the transition team—some of which manufacturers support, some of which they want overturned.

Two main ideas: First, the NAM advocated policies that support manufacturing growth in the United States, including some that the previous administration had already put into place.

Second, the NAM advised President Biden to get rid of some policies that violated manufacturers’ most important values, such as individual liberty and equal opportunity.

What’s on the agenda? Here are some of the changes the NAM proposed:

  • Already done: President Biden took action on three EOs yesterday in accordance with the NAM’s recommendations. He reversed the ban on immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries and took steps to provide certainty under the DACA program to people brought to the U.S. as children. In addition, he moved to reverse the ban on diversity trainings.

Here are a few more NAM recommendations that President Biden has not yet acted on:

  • Increasing the number of refugees offered admission to the U.S.—a key component of the compassionate immigration policy that the NAM has long promoted.
  • Reversing the Trump administration’s restriction of nonimmigrant visas, which is hurting manufacturers’ ability to recover from the pandemic.

And here are some policies and programs the NAM is asking President Biden to maintain:

  • The Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure, a crucial instrument for enacting the reforms that manufacturers need.
  • The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, whose members include Timmons. The Board has brought public- and private-sector leaders together to address manufacturers’ greatest long-term problem: the shortage of skilled workers.
  • The Trump administration’s focus on eliminating counterfeits.

The last word: As Timmons put it in his letter to the transition team, “For decades, we have worked with policymakers from across the ideological spectrum to craft policies that encourage the growth of manufacturing in the United States. Now more than ever, America needs leaders in Washington who are focused on increasing American jobs, wages and investment.”

You can read the full list of policy recommendations here.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Encouraged That Immigration Is Day One Priority

Timmons: “A Way Forward” provides post-partisan roadmap for immigration reform

Washington, D.C. – Following President Joe Biden’s executive orders and proposed actions on immigration, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“President Biden has made immigration a day one priority. Many of the actions he has announced have been top priorities for manufacturers, and we know that more action is on the way. Manufacturers are very encouraged by today’s critical first step. The urgency of fixing our broken immigration system has been made painfully clear in recent years.

“The broad goals of the Biden plan align with many of the core recommendations in ‘A Way Forward,’ manufacturers’ post-partisan roadmap for immigration reform. The path we have laid out is one that we believe can bring the country together, and we look forward to working with the Biden administration to move a comprehensive immigration reform plan through Congress. If we get this right, we will not only have shown compassion but also boosted our security and strengthened our economy for the future.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Outline Executive Action Policy Priorities for Incoming Administration

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers called on President-elect Joe Biden to help ensure the future strength of manufacturing in America by extending key executive orders into the new administration and rescinding those that have harmed manufacturing.

“For decades, we have worked with policymakers from across the ideological spectrum to craft policies that encourage the growth of manufacturing in the United States,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons in a letter to the incoming administration. “Now more than ever, America needs leaders in Washington who are focused on increasing American jobs, wages and investment.”

The letter outlines executive orders that have had a significant impact, positive or negative, on manufacturers over the past four years, and it urges the president-elect “to reverse the most harmful of these orders and keep or expand those that create an environment that is conducive to growing America’s manufacturing sector.”

The NAM’s recommendations will help manufacturers continue to respond to the devastating pandemic and will also power the United States’ economic recovery by setting the stage for manufacturing growth.

To read the full letter, click here.

Background:

The NAM has requested President-elect Biden repeal the following executive orders and consider executive orders for extension.

Executive Orders

Rescind:

  • “Rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program”
  • E.O. 13950 – “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping”
  • E.O. 13672 – “Revocation of Federal Contracting”
  • E.O. 13769 – “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”
  • “President’s Report to Congress on the Proposed Refugee Admissions for FY 21”
  • Presidential Proclamation 10052 – “Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”
  • E.O. 13944 – “Ensuring Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures and Critical Inputs Are Made in the United States”
  • E.O. 13948 – “Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First”
  • E.O. 13957 – “Creating Schedule F in the Excepted Service”

Extend:

  • E.O. 13771 – “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”
  • E.O. 13805 – “Establishing a Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure”
  • E.O. 13766 – “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High-Priority Infrastructure Projects”
  • E.O. 13845 – “Continuing the President’s National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board”
  • E.O. 13932 – “Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates”
  • E.O. 13777 – “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”
  • E.O. 13806 – “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States”
  • E.O.s – “Strengthening the Federal Government’s Anti-Counterfeiting Efforts”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

H-1B Ruling Win for Hundreds of Thousands of Workers

NAM’s Kelly: “We need high-skilled innovators now more than ever”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Linda Kelly released the following statement on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s order to strike down the Trump administration’s recent changes to the H-1B visa program:

“This ruling is a win for the hundreds of thousands of American-based workers who are essential to the recovery and renewal of our industry and our economy. We need high-skilled innovators now more than ever, and the administration’s attempt to rush these rules forward without properly considering their impact on thousands of people on the front lines of developing vaccines and treatments and making critical supplies, as well as saving lives in our hospitals, could have devastating consequences at a critical moment in our history. We’re pleased that the court’s decision recognizes the critical role the H-1B program plays in our manufacturing economy.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

Timmons: Immigrants Fill Critical Roles Across Manufacturing

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Manufacturing needs skilled workers to innovate in the United States and compete globally—and immigrants fill a variety of critical roles. For this and many other reasons, the NAM has been a longtime advocate of bipartisan, sensible immigration reform.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons reinforced manufacturers’ commitment to immigration yesterday at a panel event hosted by the National Immigration Forum, which was moderated by Axios reporter Stef Kight and also featured Tyson Foods Chief Sustainability Officer John R. Tyson. Here’s what he said.

The skills gap: Immigration is crucial to many sectors in manufacturing, Timmons stressed.

  • “High-skilled immigration professionals fill critical roles across the country,” he said. “You think about researchers and scientists and technicians. Workers for these roles are in very high demand, and H1-B visas and employment-based immigration are one way manufacturers fill these immediate needs while we work to strengthen our domestic talent pipeline.”

And the pandemic hasn’t changed things—this is a long-term skills shortage that will continue even after the industry bounces back completely.

  • “Even though manufacturers lost 1.3 million jobs during the pandemic—we’ve filled back about half of those—we still have 460,000 jobs that we can’t fill,” said Timmons. “Legal immigration programs are absolutely critical for that workforce development, and to allow manufacturers to grow their operations in the United States, and also expand their global footprint.”

The ecosystem: Immigrants aren’t just important for manufacturing jobs; they’re also critical for the support jobs that make manufacturing work.

  • “Our employers know that our economy depends on immigrants in a multitude of support functions to enable our economy to succeed,” said Timmons. “Think of an ecosystem of educators and childcare providers, health care workers, transportation professionals, agricultural workers and countless others. They enable our sector, and they enable our economy, and they enable our country to function.”

The NAM’s plan: The NAM has long called for commonsense immigration reform, which includes creating an employment-based immigration system that prioritizes America’s workforce needs. Its comprehensive immigration plan can be found in the policy blueprint “A Way Forward.”

You can watch the full event here

Press Releases

Manufacturers File Suit Against H-1B Rules Jeopardizing Hundreds of Thousands of American Jobs

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers joined several business organizations and academic institutions in filing a lawsuit in federal court against harmful and haphazard rules on H-1B visas that, if left in place, would affect hundreds of thousands of American-based workers and disrupt manufacturers’ ability to hire and retain critical high-skilled talent.

“We need high-skilled innovators now more than ever, and the administration’s attempt to rush these rules forward without properly considering their impact on thousands of people on the front lines of developing vaccines and treatments and making critical supplies, as well as saving lives in our hospitals, could have devastating consequences at a critical moment in our history,” said NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly. “Rewriting laws through a dark-of-night-style rulemaking leads to dangerous policy outcomes, and this pair of interim final rules is an illegal attempt to dismantle legal immigration by rendering the H-1B visa program unworkable for hundreds of thousands of American-based workers who are essential to the recovery and renewal of our industry and our economy.”

Background: Earlier this month in federal court, the NAM was victorious in securing an injunction against the administration’s proclamation restricting nonimmigrant visas. Read the NAM’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform, “A Way Forward.” To learn more about the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, click here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.05 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

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