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Policy and Legal

Timmons Touts 2020 Priorities During State of Manufacturing Address

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Last week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the 2020 State of Manufacturing Address at Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa, highlighting the NAM’s policy agenda and laying out manufacturers’ priorities. Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the founding of the NAM, the livestreamed Address kicks off a yearlong focus on the association’s contributions to manufacturing and its work to strengthen the industry going forward.

“The story of the past 125 years is one of manufacturers…changing our country for the better, and being the solution,” said Timmons. “That’s our calling for the next 125 years.”

Timmons honed in on Creators Wanted, an unprecedented campaign led by the Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce and education partner, to attract a new generation and change the industry’s perception. This spring, the Creators Wanted Tour is expected to engage more than 250,000 Americans with high-tech manufacturing and reach more than 15 million people online.  The tour stops will build momentum for the Making America Festival in Cincinnati in September. Timmons also announced major Creators Wanted sponsorships from Vermeer and neighboring Iowa manufacturer Pella Corporation.

At the event, the NAM released its “Competing to Win” agenda, a detailed roadmap for candidates and elected officials. Representing 12.8 million men and women who make things in America—from small business owners to global companies in every industrial sector—Timmons called for the nation to support leaders who stand for free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.

After the Address, Timmons participated in a panel with Vermeer’s President and CEO Jason Andringa, moderated by NAM’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy Erin Streeter. They further emphasized the role business leaders should play in helping unify the nation, the success of manufacturers’ trade agenda and Andringa’s ability to make unprecedented investments in his business due to tax and regulatory reform.

“Manufacturers like us are proud to offer rewarding careers, to support our community and to strengthen our country,” said Andringa. “Like millions of men and women across the United States, we are committed to building a better future—and today, we’re more optimistic than ever about what that future holds.”

View a photo gallery from the event.

Want to help shape the future? Learn how to get involved in our Creators Wanted campaign, and read Competing to Win, our policy blueprint for candidates and elected officials.

Press Releases

Timmons Delivers 2020 NAM State of Manufacturing Address in Iowa

Speech Marked 125th Anniversary of NAM’s Founding and Highlighted ‘Creators Wanted’ Campaign to Address Growing Workforce Shortage

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the eighth-annual NAM State of Manufacturing Address today at equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa. Speaking to Vermeer Corporation employees, business and community leaders and local manufacturers, Timmons highlighted the NAM’s ambitious plan to address the industry’s growing workforce crisis with the groundbreaking, multimillion-dollar “Creators Wanted” campaign.

In his remarks, Timmons said:

“For 125 years, your NAM has led the business community and fought for all who make things in America. And all of you in this room, and the 13 million men and women in our industry, some of whom are watching today, are part of the storied history of building an exceptional nation. And Vermeer, this very company, embodies the story of manufacturers’ progress.”

. . . .

“In this pivotal year, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute, our workforce and education partner, are setting out on an unprecedented campaign to inspire a new generation—and tell the real story of our industry. . . . Our historic effort, called “Creators Wanted,” is a capital campaign that will support the programs of the Manufacturing Institute—including the STEP Women’s Initiative, youth engagement and Heroes MAKE America, which trains our returning servicemembers for high-paying manufacturing jobs.”

. . . .

“Just yesterday, in his remarks at the World Economic Forum, President Trump touted manufacturing’s growth and success during his presidency. As I’ve said before, from tax reform to regulatory certainty to leveling the playing field, promises made to manufacturers have been promises kept—and the employment and output numbers show it.”

. . . .

“Here’s what I will say about this election . . . It’s not the label next to a candidate’s name—whether an “R,” a “D” or an “I”—that determines whether he or she will be a good president or even a good member of Congress. The test is whether he or she will work to uphold the values that make America exceptional. These are the same four values, the same four pillars, that make our industry’s success possible.”

Timmons also noted the generous contributions made by Vermeer and Pella Corporation to the NAM’s Creators Wanted campaign.

“And I am proud to announce today that Vermeer Corporation, along with your foundation and Mary and Dr. Dale Andringa, have contributed $100,000 to this cause. And another local manufacturer, Pella Corporation, is also leading by example with a $100,000 contribution of their own,” said Timmons.

Vermeer Corporation President and CEO Jason Andringa thanked Timmons for his visit and the NAM’s commitment to ensuring the long-term success of manufacturing in the United States.

“Thank you to Jay Timmons and the National Association of Manufacturers for visiting Vermeer Corporation and recognizing the incredible work of our team members and manufacturers across the country,” said Andringa. “These men and women truly demonstrate the impact our industry makes every day and represent the success of American manufacturing.”

To read the full address, click here.


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 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.37 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 Manufacturers or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit


USTMA’s Forristall Luke on Changing Youth’s Perception of Manufacturing

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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 Anne Forristall Luke, President and CEO of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association and 2020 Chair of the Council of Manufacturing Associations. In this edition of NAM’s Makers Series, she explains how to change the next generation’s perception of manufacturing.

By 2025, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute aim to increase the positive perception of modern manufacturing among students and parents by 50%. Learn more about getting involved in Creators Wanted.


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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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.

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