Labor & Employment

To keep manufacturing an engine of the economy, we need labor policies that support flexibility and innovation.

Workforce

NAM Joins Ivanka Trump in Push for Manufacturing Workforce Development

Ivanka Trump and Jay Timmons at the FAME launch in Alabama

This week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons joined Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump in Indianapolis for the fourth meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. The Board—which is chaired by Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and includes Timmons as a member—was established to provide advice and recommendations on ways to encourage the private sector and educational institutions to combat the skills gap crisis. Areas of focus include demand-driven education, training and retraining, including through apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities.

“Ivanka Trump’s support on this critical issue is vital, and we are fortunate to have her as a champion for the nearly 13 million men and women who make things in America,” said Timmons. “Manufacturers expect to need to fill 4.6 million jobs over the next decade, so the stakes could not be higher for our industry. That’s why we are proud to help drive the work of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board alongside Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and it is why the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute are leading the Creators Wanted campaign to inspire a new generation to pursue promising modern manufacturing careers.”

Creators Wanted is a national effort, launched by NAM and The Manufacturing Institute as part of a broader strategy, to build the workforce of tomorrow. The campaign aims to cut the skills gap by 600,000 workers by 2025; increase by 25 percent the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools; increase by 25 percent the number of students enrolling in apprenticeships and reskilling programs; and raise to 50 percent—from 27 percent—the number of parents who would encourage their children to pursue a career in modern manufacturing.

A key part of Creators Wanted is a mobile manufacturing tour that will travel to at least 20 states, setting up at events such as state fairs, festivals, conventions, schools and gaming competitions. The experience will showcase the multiple pathways into manufacturing careers and provide resources for individuals to take the next steps to become manufacturers, grow in their careers and learn more about the industry.

Ivanka Trump has been active on raising awareness of the many pathways to well-paying and high-skilled manufacturing jobs. In July, Timmons and Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee joined President Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump to sign the Pledge to America’s Workers, with manufacturers committing to provide training opportunities to 1,186,000 manufacturing workers over the next five years to address the industry’s skills gap crisis. Ivanka Trump also recently attended an event at Alabama Robotics Technology Park in Huntsville, Alabama, to support the NAM’s FAME program—an earn-and-learn apprenticeship that trains students of all ages and backgrounds, from recent high school graduates to experienced manufacturing employees looking to advance their careers. Originally developed and refined by Toyota, stewardship of the FAME program has recently transitioned to The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Ivanka Trump knows how critical manufacturers are to the future of this country, and clearly she is deeply invested in the work that they do every day,” said Timmons.

Workforce

Creators Wanted Campaign Helps Solve the Workforce Crisis

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The National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the NAM, are embarking together on an ambitious mission to reshape the public’s perception of manufacturing. NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas explains what the groundbreaking Creators Wanted campaign is about and how people can get involved.

What is the Creators Wanted campaign?

We know Generation Z and Millennials want authenticity and real experiences that speak to their values and aspirations. Modern manufacturing provides the chance to create the future, to be true to who you are and who you want to be. But emerging workers aren’t flocking to our careers or even to apprenticeships and educational pathways. We have a massive perception problem, and it’s exacerbating a workforce crisis.

Creators Wanted is an on-the-ground tour coming to at least 20 states in 2020, as well as a long-term campaign to get more emerging workers across the country to look at manufacturing careers as prizes to be had and not as consolation prizes. We’re taking a mobile manufacturing experience into communities so that people can see and experience for themselves how humans and exciting technology such as AI and 5G are coming together to make great careers and a better future. Creators Wanted is about building connections for people so they can become manufacturers, grow in their careers and even advocate for the industry. And it’s about scaling up bold workforce programs at the Institute to add more veterans, women, diverse communities and youth to manufacturers’ talent pipeline.

What will the campaign achieve?

Ultimately, our goal with Creators Wanted is to reshape how most Americans view modern manufacturing careers. More immediately, by 2025, Creators Wanted aims to reduce the skills gap in the United States by 600,000, increase the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and increase the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50% from 27%.

Why should students consider a career in manufacturing?

First, we have plenty of opportunity. About half a million jobs are open today, and by 2028, we’ll need to fill 4.6 million jobs. Second, modern manufacturing jobs pay well and are incredibly rewarding. Manufacturing jobs regularly pay more than $80,000 and provide the opportunity to climb much higher in your career, all without incurring massive college debt. You can be a part of teams that are doing exciting work and have a job with a clear purpose, where you know your contribution makes a difference.

How can I get involved in Creators Wanted?

Right now, we’re prioritizing fundraising for the campaign so we can get the Creators Wanted Tour to as many communities as possible and expand our workforce programs for veterans, women, diverse communities and youth. If you believe that America needs this campaign and needs to renew the promise of careers in manufacturing, we hope you’ll consider chipping in and supporting.

To learn more about getting involved, go to CreatorsWanted.org.

Business Operations

BTE’s President on the Importance of Small Manufacturers

The NAM’s Makers Series is an exclusive interview series featuring creators, innovators and trailblazers in the industry sharing their insights and advice. Each month, we ask founders, executives and leaders of innovative firms what it takes to be a leader for manufacturers and makers in America.

Meet Chuck Wetherington, president of BTE and the NAM’s Small and Medium Manufacturers board chair. In this edition of NAM’s Makers Series, he explains why small- and medium-sized manufacturers are a cornerstone of America.

Workforce

Manufacturing Day Results Are In

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Led by The Manufacturing Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers’ workforce and education partner, Manufacturing Day shows students what a career in modern manufacturing looks like. Throughout October, manufacturers throughout the nation hosted more than 3,000 MFG Day events, and more than 325,000 students, teachers and parents participated.

Manufacturers continue to cite struggles with finding talent. To help solve the workforce crisis, manufacturers open their doors on MFG Day to showcase their facilities and the changing nature of jobs to help shift perceptions about the sector as a career.

On social media, the event accumulated a record-setting 200 million impressions and 163,000 engagements, including posts from influencers. The event also generated $1.1 million in earned media.

The Manufacturing Institute conducted a survey of attendees and hosts to help gauge the impact of MFG Day. Going into the events, 21.4 percent of students participating in an MFG Day event said they had no familiarity with manufacturing. But after attending an event, approximately 90 percent of participants said they were more familiar with manufacturing, and 72.4 percent said they now believed that manufacturing provides an interesting and rewarding career. Moreover, 63.2 percent were more inclined to tell friends, family members or others about manufacturing as a career, with half of the attendees suggesting that they were motivated themselves to pursue a career in manufacturing.

“The modern manufacturing industry simply isn’t the one our grandparents remember. The career opportunities it offers today are increasingly high-tech, high-pay and—as thousands of students and parents discover for themselves each MFG Day—pretty fun too,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “This year’s MFG Day was another great success. I’m grateful to the many manufacturers, educational institutions and other partners across the continent who not only opened their doors but helped open minds as a result.”

Watch the video to see more MFG Day highlights.

Workforce

FAME Program Puts Student on Road to Success

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Terry McKelvey has always liked making things. Born in Huntsville, Alabama, he worked two part-time jobs in high school that showed him what modern manufacturing looked like. And when FAME program leaders visited the facility where he worked, he discovered the path to a full-time, long-term career.

The FAME program trains students of all ages and backgrounds, from recent high school graduates to experienced manufacturing employees looking to advance their careers. FAME is an earn-and-learn apprenticeship where students spend time in the classroom and on the shop floor. After two years, students graduate with an Advanced Manufacturing Technician degree and no student debt. Originally developed and refined by Toyota, stewardship of the FAME program has recently transitioned to The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. FAME chapters are currently operating in 13 states with nearly 400 partner companies, and the Manufacturing Institute intends to further expand the program nationwide.

Today, McKelvey is in his fourth semester of the FAME program at Toyota’s Huntsville facility.  He particularly enjoys the hands-on aspect of his work, and has appreciated the chance to gain insights from a wide range of mentors and coworkers, including former FAME program participants.

“As part of the program, we’re able to work with new mentors and new groups every semester—and that gives me the opportunity to learn so much more,” said McKelvey. “Hearing from a whole bunch of people instead of just one person in particular helps me branch out and understand different concepts.”

Those different concepts have expanded McKelvey’s appreciation for the manufacturing industry, offering him a broader view of the different types of available roles.

“Being in this program has showed me that there’s so much more to manufacturing,” said McKelvey. “It’s not just the production aspect. It’s not just shipping and handling. It gets much more in-depth. You can understand the machines you work with on an entirely different level –and you see new things every day.”

McKelvey encourages people considering the FAME program to embrace the new challenges and experiences the program exposes students to. He says that the experience pays off, and that program participants can count on their colleagues for support. In fact, the tight-knit community he has created with other people in his program have been one of the highlights for McKelvey.

“We’re pretty close,” said McKelvey. “We’re like a family. We help each other out. If someone misses a day, we’ll check in on them. We look out for each other.”

What sets FAME apart from other apprenticeship programs is that it teaches the skills and the culture of manufacturing. Students graduate with the tools to not just fill open jobs—but to be successful leaders in the manufacturing industry.

Learn more about the Manufacturing Institute’s FAME apprenticeship program.

Workforce

Manufacturers Celebrate Veterans at Heroes MAKE America Event

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Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston met with The Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America cohort at Fort Bragg.

On Tuesday, North Carolina’s Fort Bragg was the site of an event to celebrate America’s veterans and to highlight opportunities available in manufacturing for transitioning service members and their families.

The event was presented by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. The program highlighted the Institute’s Heroes MAKE America program, which aims to build a mutually beneficial pipeline between the military and manufacturing. Major manufacturers like Samsung, Novelis and Ingersoll Rand and the Arconic Foundation have supported the program and continue to be partners in supporting veterans who are interested in the rewarding careers modern manufacturing offers.

“Heroes MAKE America helps transitioning service members develop a well-paying, interesting and productive career after they complete their service,” said Carolyn Lee, Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute. “These individuals are in possession of the exact qualities and advanced skills that manufacturers seek, and the program prepares them be leaders in the industry.”

More than 200,000 men and women transition out of the military each year. There are about 500,000 jobs open in the manufacturing industry right now, and estimates suggest that manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs by 2028.

“The manufacturing industry presents an opportunity where specialized skills are utilized and workers contribute to projects that improve the world around them each and every day,” said Lee. “Heroes MAKE America connects transitioning service members to careers where they feel valued, inspired and where they can leverage the skills and training they developed in the military. Manufacturers that hire Heroes graduates also get workers with advanced specializations whose experiences make them prepared for new training and who show up on day one ready to lead and complete their new mission.”

The Heroes MAKE America program is growing rapidly, exploring new training options for 2020 and beginning to include participants from the National Guard as well as military spouses and fully separated veterans. The program is also planning to pilot online and hybrid models to encourage more participants who aren’t able to join full-time, diversifying its offerings and expanding its partnerships to include additional manufacturers and opportunities for veterans. So far this year, the program has graduated more than 125 individuals. More than half of all Heroes participants have over a decade of military service, and approximately one-quarter of Heroes graduates are in supervisory roles. The average salary of all graduates is nearly $70,000, with those in hourly roles making an average of $20 an hour.

The event’s program featured an informal reception, remarks by retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston and a panel of Heroes MAKE America graduates—including Joseph Smith, who has previously been profiled by the NAM.

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Urge Support for DACA Ahead of SCOTUS Decision

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The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a case that will decide the future of more than 800,000 immigrants living in the United States and will have serious implications for America’s workforce. The National Association of Manufacturers filed an amicus brief with 143 companies calling for the Supreme Court to uphold DACA while outlining the importance of Dreamers to America’s workplaces and the American economy.

“Eliminating DACA will inflict serious harm on U.S. companies, all workers, and the American economy as a whole. Companies will lose valued employees. Workers will lose employers and co-workers,” the brief states. “Our national GDP will lose up to $460.3 billion, and tax revenues will be reduced by approximately $90 billion, over the next decade.”

Established in 2012, DACA allowed undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children to apply for protection from deportation and permission to work in the United States. In 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the program, leading to a series of lawsuits that has brought the case to the Supreme Court. DACA recipients, often called “Dreamers,” will lose their work authorization and face possible deportation if the program is rescinded.

“Dreamers have become an integral part of our society and our workforce and have the potential to offer so much more to our country if they can continue their pursuit of the American Dream,” said Linda Kelly, NAM senior vice president of legal, general counsel and corporate secretary. “The NAM supports DACA’s work authorization for more than 800,000 individuals to help meet the workforce challenges facing manufacturers and to allow those people to continue to contribute to their companies, communities and families—as well as this country, which for many is the only home they have ever known.”

Earlier this year, the NAM released “A Way Forward,” a comprehensive and practical proposal designed to fix our broken immigration system. The plan calls for a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients as well as similar opportunities for the broader Dreamer community, which encompasses about 1.5 million people. Overall, “A Way Forward” highlights seven core areas of action that would bolster national security, uphold the rule of law and establish a modern, well-functioning system for welcoming new people to the United States. The uncertainty over the future of DACA recipients highlights the urgent need for Congress to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that achieves these goals.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on DACA by June 2020.

Workforce

FAME Program Gives Student Jumpstart in Auto Career

Austin Wilhite comes from a woodworking family. But even a few years ago, when he was a teen working in his uncle’s framing business, Austin Wilhite couldn’t have imagined that an apprenticeship program would lead him to a career in maintenance and manufacturing. Today, in his role as a Multicraft Maintenance Technician at Toyota Alabama, he’s excited about the opportunities he has unlocked.

“I always enjoyed building stuff and fixing things with my hands,” said Wilhite. “But I didn’t even know this career was a possibility.”

As a top student in his high school Agriculture Education class, he was encouraged by a teacher to attend a meeting about the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME). Originally developed and refined by Toyota, stewardship of the FAME program has recently transitioned to The Manufacturing Institute, the education and workforce partner of the National Association of Manufacturers.

FAME trains students of all ages and backgrounds, from recent high school graduates to experienced manufacturing employees looking to advance their careers. FAME is an earn-and-learn apprenticeship where students spend time in the classroom and on the shop floor. After two years, students graduate with an Advanced Manufacturing Technician degree and no student debt. FAME chapters are currently operating in 13 states, and the Manufacturing Institute intends to further expand the program nationwide.

“It was a really good program,” said Wilhite. “You go to work and you see the things you’re learning about in school, but then you also get to see the more advanced work you’re headed into. You can see the change—at the beginning, you’ve never been in a plant or seen any of this stuff. And then all of a sudden, you’re able to understand how to troubleshoot and fix machines the proper way.”

Three years after graduating from FAME, Wilhite is a testament to what graduates of this program can accomplish. His new career has opened financial doors for him; the money he earned during the FAME apprenticeship helped him replace his car so that he could get to and from work reliably. The year he graduated, he was able to purchase a new house, and a year later, he bought a new truck.

“I’m the only person I know who, at 20 years old, was able to buy a new house,” said Wilhite. “The program is a commitment, but I’ve been able to reward myself for making that commitment. Without the program, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Wilhite is enthusiastic about his career prospects and proud of the new skills he has cultivated through the training he received in the FAME program.

“It’s a really good career,” said Wilhite. “Maintenance people are in really high demand. The program gives you the fundamentals of being able to work with your hands and fix things on your own. Plus, it’s a lot of problem-solving—and that’ll help you in your life.”

Learn more about the Manufacturing Institute’s FAME apprenticeship program.

Workforce

Manufacturing Day Events Spur Workforce Interest

Led by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, MFG Day helps showcase the reality of modern manufacturing careers to young people nationwide. By encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the country to open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders, the annual celebration, which began on October 4, kicked off a month full of exciting and inspirational events designed to recruit and inspire the next generation of manufacturing workers.

Here’s a glimpse inside two events:

In Greensboro, Georgia, Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee joined local students for a shop floor tour at Novelis, a producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum. Lee met with students, business leaders and community members to discuss the high-tech, well-paying opportunities in modern manufacturing and the growing number of open jobs in the industry.

“Manufacturers are looking for the best and brightest talent to join them,” said Lee. “Our industry is growing, but with that growth comes the challenge of recruiting and retaining new workers. Through MFG Day events across the country, we have the chance to connect with the next generation of manufacturers and give them a close-up view of an industry and technology they might never have seen before.”

At the Samsung Electronics Home Appliance (SEHA) facility in Newberry, South Carolina, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons spoke with local  students about modern manufacturing careers.

Timmons joined South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and students for a tour of the facility, giving the young people a view of the work being done in modern manufacturing.  Launched just two years ago, the facility currently employs over 800 full-time workers. By 2020, the company expects the facility to generate nearly 1,000 jobs, including advanced manufacturing positions.

“These kids are the future of manufacturing and the future of this country,” said Timmons. “I’m thrilled to be able to spend time with them, and to show them what this industry has to offer. They’ll build the future—and I want them to know that we’re excited to build it with them.”

By participating in MFG Day, manufacturers and educators are telling students, teachers and parents across the entire country “Creators Wanted.” Because there are 4.6 million jobs to fill between now and 2028, the NAM and the MI have launched an unprecedented campaign to take that message from coast to coast in 2020. To get involved, visit CreatorsWanted.org.

News

The Nation Unites for Manufacturing Day

On Oct. 4, approximately 3,000 manufacturers and educational institutions opened their doors to students, educators, parents and community leaders to celebrate Manufacturing Day.

Led by The Manufacturing Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers’ workforce and education partner, Manufacturing Day shows students what a career in modern manufacturing looks like.

By 2028, manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs. More than half of those jobs could remain vacant due to the industry’s skills gap and misconceptions about modern manufacturing. The MI and NAM aim to help solve the workforce crisis through efforts such as Manufacturing Day and the Creators Wanted campaign.

Manufacturing Day shows students why they should consider a career in modern manufacturing and what skills manufacturing companies are looking for in employees.

Political influencers from both sides of the aisle as well as federal entities shared Manufacturing Day messages, spreading the word about Manufacturing Day, its opportunities and the industry’s critical economic role.

To get involved in Manufacturing Day, visit mfgday.com.

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