Manufacturing businesses have long been proponents of equality in the workplace. As legislation to codify protections for LGBT individuals passes through the House of Representatives, the National Association of Manufacturers joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and other members of the business community in advocating its passage, forging coalitions and providing congressional testimony.
Introduced with bipartisan support in the U.S. House and Senate in March, the Equality Act includes federal protections for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity under the existing framework of the Civil Rights Act, which already provides protection against discrimination on the basis of religion, national origin, race, color or sex. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that no person can face legal discrimination based on their gender or sexual orientation, setting a clear federal standard to enable individuals to succeed based on their abilities and qualifications to perform a job.
“Employers understand the importance of creating an environment in which the very best people can succeed based on merit,” Patrick Hedren, NAM vice president, labor, legal and regulatory policy, said. “At the same time, manufacturers know that discrimination in any form is antithetical to the values that we work to uphold every day: equality of opportunity, individual liberty, free enterprise and competitiveness.”
In March, more than 40 other industry associations rallied to support the Equality Act, providing an important boost for the groundbreaking legislation. In the weeks since, manufacturing representatives have testified before the House Education and Labor Committee and signed a coalition letter to the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services calling for the Act’s passage. As Congress considers the way forward, manufacturers have made clear that they intend to advocate forcefully on behalf of the legislation and uphold their commitment to workers of every gender identity and sexual orientation.
“The Equality Act creates a clear federal standard that matches the sentiments manufacturers already share: gender identity and sexual orientation have no impact on an employee’s abilities and discrimination is not welcome on the manufacturing floor,” Hedren said. “We look forward to working with Congress as this important legislation moves ahead.”
Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after the Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded the 2016 Persuader Rule:
Manufacturers have fought for this victory for many years in the courts, in Congress and with two administrations, using the full weight of our policy, government relations and legal teams, said Timmons. The NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action was able to halt the rule in court in 2016.And in 2017, the Trump administration, as part of its broader regulatory relief agenda, thankfully began the process of unwinding the rule. This overreaching rule threatened to impose serious burdens on manufacturers and upend employee–employer communications. Now manufacturers are relieved that this threat to workplace communications is finally and officially off the books. Commonsense steps like this to rein in onerous regulations are a major reason why manufacturers are reporting record-high business optimism.
The Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) is the leading voice of manufacturers in the courts and engages in a range of activities, including direct party litigation and operating a robust amicus program, as well as educating manufacturers about emerging legal trends. The MCLA is led by NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly and NAM Vice President of Litigation and Deputy General Counsel Peter Tolsdorf. More information on the MCLA can be found here.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 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 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters 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 Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
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.
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.
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.”
— Carolyn Lee (@cleeNAM) October 4, 2019
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.
Happy #MFGDay19! Glad I could join @SamsungUS in South Carolina this morning to give 7th grade students a look at what a career in manufacturing can offer. https://t.co/6loVbuTL4H pic.twitter.com/PwY5xcEqHV
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) October 4, 2019
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.
On Oct. 4, approximately 3,000 manufacturers and educational institutions opened their doors to students, educators, parents and community leaders to celebrate Manufacturing Day.
— Manufacturing Day (@MfgDay) October 4, 2019
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.
The manufacturing sector is facing a growing skills gap https://t.co/a9VUb1uBYb
— CNBC (@CNBC) October 4, 2019
Manufacturing Day shows students why they should consider a career in modern manufacturing and what skills manufacturing companies are looking for in employees.
This National #ManufacturingDay, we're celebrating:
✅#CTE students who are learning the manufacturing trade
✅Teachers who are training the next generation of manufacturers
✅Lifelong learners who are gaining new skills to stay competitive in this field pic.twitter.com/XvwNiC6vwk
— Secretary Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) October 4, 2019
America's manufacturing workers are a large part of what makes this nation strong.
— James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) October 4, 2019
October is Manufacturing Month and today we visited Manitowoc’s Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry. They opened their foundry for community tours to help show high school students that there are exciting, good paying jobs in manufacturing. #NationalManufacturingDay #MFGDay19 pic.twitter.com/gcHn1lXMPq
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) October 4, 2019
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.
— House Democrats (@HouseDemocrats) October 4, 2019
Over 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since @realDonaldTrump's election.
— Senate Republicans (@SenateGOP) October 4, 2019
— U.S. Commerce Dept. (@CommerceGov) October 4, 2019
To get involved in Manufacturing Day, visit mfgday.com.
Today thousands of manufacturers and educational institutions across the country are opening their doors to students, parents, teachers 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.
The Manufacturing Institute’s Executive Director Carolyn Lee will be in Greensboro, GA, at a Novelis facility.
— Carolyn Lee (@cleeNAM) October 4, 2019
NAM’s President and CEO Jay Timmons will be joining a Manufacturing Day event at a Samsung facility in Newberry, SC.
In Newberry, SC, today to join @SamsungUS for their #MFGDay19 event! Going to be a great day showing students what a career in modern manufacturing can offer. Learn more: https://t.co/y4RjnAjie2 pic.twitter.com/e0m7oomFgk
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) October 4, 2019
To keep up with the latest Manufacturing Day festivities, check out the MI and NAM on Twitter, plus the dedicated Manufacturing Day Twitter. Join the social media conversation by using the hashtag #MFGDay19 in related posts.
This week, the National Association of Manufacturers helped move the manufacturing industry forward on three major fronts.
- The NAM’s workforce and education partner, the Manufacturing Institute, announced it will expand Toyota North America’s successful FAME apprenticeship program nationwide. The MI’s Executive Director Carolyn Lee, the NAM’s CEO Jay Timmons, Special Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, TMNA’s Executive Vice President Chris Nielsen and Ingersoll Rand CEO Michael Lamach shared this news during a roundtable with FAME apprentices.
- At the NAM’s headquarters, Export-Import Bank President and Chairwoman Kimberly Reed participated in a roundtable with manufacturers to discuss the critical bank reauthorization.
- Also at the NAM’s headquarters, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James joined Timmons to announce the finalization of a rule to repeal the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States rule and clear the way for a new rule to protect America’s water resources without overstepping the bounds of the law.
The National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute and Toyota Motor North America on Tuesday announced the operational and stewardship transition of Toyota’s Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program to the MI.
Scoop: Ivanka Trump, manufacturing group to announce expansion of skilled training program https://t.co/ndd0WRKBfJ
— AlexGangitano (@AlexGangitano) September 10, 2019
NAM CEO Jay Timmons and MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee were joined by Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump at Alabama Robotics Technology Park in Huntsville, AL, for the announcement.
Today, I am visiting the Alabama Robotics Technology Park to learn more about their FAME apprenticeship program and their partnership with @ShopFloorNAM (NAM signed our #PledgetoAmericasWorkers in July and committed to 1.2 Million NEW training opportunities!)
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) September 10, 2019
FAME apprentices receive a two-year industrial degree, Advanced Manufacturing Technician, while working in their sponsor’s manufacturing facility. FAME trains students of all ages and backgrounds, from recent high school graduates to experienced manufacturing employees looking to advance their careers.
.@ToyotaPolicy has built an incredible apprenticeship program with FAME. I’m honored that the @TheMFGInstitute will continue and build on that success. https://t.co/66Vz5w8313 pic.twitter.com/qygxa3fHga
— Carolyn Lee (@cleeNAM) September 10, 2019
FAME chapters are currently operating in 13 states, and the MI will expand the program nationwide.
Toyota is proud to have started this workforce development program and see it grow so more American workers can benefit. https://t.co/bqzbgBbrxa
— Toyota Policy (@ToyotaPolicy) September 10, 2019
Education pathways to skilled careers and an expansion of apprenticeship programs are key goals of the NAM and MI’s Creators Wanted Fund, a campaign to inspire more Americans to pursue careers in modern manufacturing.
Thanks again to @IvankaTrump for coming to @TheMFGInstitute’s and @ToyotaPolicy’s FAME apprenticeship announcement! Our industry is stepping up to provide opportunities for Americans to find meaningful careers. https://t.co/qw9ljPPClU
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) September 10, 2019
For more information, read the MI’s press release.
Manufacturing Day, led by the Manufacturing Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers, is kicking off on Oct. 4.
Carolyn Lee, the Manufacturing Institute’s executive director, explains what makes this event unique, why it’s personally important to her and how you can get involved.
What is Manufacturing Day?
Manufacturing Day shows off what modern manufacturing looks like. Kicking off on the first Friday in October—and continuing throughout the month—this annual event helps manufacturing companies and educational institutions open their doors to students, parents, teachers, community leaders and more. Manufacturing Day shows students why they should consider a career in manufacturing and what skills manufacturing companies are looking for in job candidates.
How does Manufacturing Day make a difference for students?
On Manufacturing Day last year, hard material manufacturer CERATIZIT hosted an event in Michigan. At the beginning of the day, they asked the group who was interested in a career in manufacturing. Only three or four students raised their hands. The students then spent the day taking the tour of the facility, trying out CERATIZIT’s products and using CAD software to make their own keychains. At the end of the day, they were asked the same question about who would be interested in a career in manufacturing. This time, there were only three or four students who didn’t raise their hands!
You might think you know what manufacturing looks like today, but seeing is believing — and seeing modern manufacturing firsthand can be life-changing for students. I hope that Manufacturing Day makes a difference in the lives of the students who attend, getting them to seriously consider a career in manufacturing.
Why is Manufacturing Day important to you?
I grew up in a manufacturing family. My dad, grandfather and even my grandmother for a short time worked in manufacturing. When I was a kid, manufacturing was a lot different than it is today — and I still thought it was cool! Now, it’s even more amazing. Manufacturing careers are increasingly high-tech, and technology is increasingly an integral part of the industry. Manufacturing employees are excited about technology, and they’re excited to learn and grow in their careers.
It’s always amazing to see what the manufacturing workforce makes and what goes into making the things that improve our lives every day and how they do it. Manufacturing Day is the way for everyone to see it for themselves.
How can I get involved in Manufacturing Day?
If you’re a manufacturer, plan an event for your community on Oct. 4 (or another day in October), and make sure to register it on Manufacturing Day’s website. If you’re a student, parent or teacher, find events being held in your area using the map on our website.
As a child, Josh Matherne dreamed of joining the military. He realized that dream as a team supervisor in the U.S. Army infantry at Fort Hood, where he mentored younger soldiers and helped ensure that they were doing their jobs safely and successfully.
“My grandfather was in the Marines, and he really pointed me in the right direction,” said Matherne. “I always thought it was the right thing to do. As soon as I could serve, I wanted to serve.”
All the while, Matherne was interested in the oil and gas manufacturing industry. When he began to think about a civilian career, the Heroes MAKE America program was a natural fit. The program aims to build a mutually beneficial pipeline between the military and manufacturing, offering transitioning service members in-demand manufacturing skills and training, and educating manufacturers on how to recruit and retain members of the military and their families. As a student in the Heroes program, Matherne expanded his knowledge in manufacturing and tailored his resume to reflect his work ethic, determination and passion for the industry. Through the program’s regular networking opportunities, company tours and training support, the initiative helped him launch his new career.
“The Heroes program gave me an idea of what I was getting myself into,” said Matherne. “It eased my transition by getting me into the civilian mindset and taught me how to interact with civilian workers.”
Like many Heroes MAKE America participants, Matherne initially wondered if his skills would transfer into his field of interest. But shortly after he began his current role as a chemical operator at Occidental Chemical in La Porte, Texas, he found that his military training made him ideal for a position that required discipline and attention to detail. He has already been fast-tracked toward a promotion, and he has found a familiar rhythm that reminds him of his experience as an infantry team leader.
“It’s kind of like the military,” said Matherne. “The family-style team; being a part of something worth being a part of.”
Matherne continues to share open job opportunities within his company and other oil and gas companies in order to help other veterans like him find their next career in a well-paying, growing sector. He’s also mentoring new veteran hires, giving them a sense of what to expect during their transition and teaching them how they can use their past training to succeed in manufacturing.
“It’s a great atmosphere, has great people, and has a similar structure to the military,” said Matherne. “The manufacturing industry loves the drive we have and the discipline we have. They love seeing it, and they love hiring it.”
Learn more about the Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America program.
Last Wednesday, as yields on shorter-term bonds surpassed those of longer-term bonds, the U.S. economy briefly experienced an “inverted yield curve”. Historically, such an inversion has been a reliable predictor of recessions to come.
Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, explains the significance of the yield curve and whether manufacturers should worry that a recession is on the way.
What is a yield curve?
In its simplest terms, if I lend money to you over several years, I would expect to get receive a higher interest rate to compensate me for giving up access to my money for a longer time frame. In a healthy economy, interest rates should be upward-sloping as the length of maturities increases.
What does it mean if a yield curve inverts?
An inverted yield curve means that the interest rate for short-term loans is higher than for longer maturities. This would imply that financial markets might be more pessimistic in its outlook.
An inverted yield curve can foreshadow a recession. The spread between 10-year and 2-year Treasury bonds is often seen as an important barometer. Since World War II, when this yield curve has inverted, the U.S. economy has entered a recession within the following 12 to 18 months.
The yield curve between 10-year and 2-year Treasury yields inverted last week. It’s positive now, but still close to inversion. The last time this spread inverted was June 2007, predating the start of the Great Recession by five months.
Should manufacturers be worried? Does that mean that a recession is just around the corner?
There are warning signs that we are closely following. Broadly, the global economy is clearly slowing, as noted in our most recent monthly report, and financial markets have been highly volatile in recent weeks, exacerbated by trade uncertainties. As a result, businesses in the U.S. have become more hesitant in their spending and there are worries that the economic slowdown abroad could find its way to the U.S. Within the manufacturing industry, production is contracting both in the U.S. and abroad, and hiring has slowed in the sector.
However, a yield curve inversion does not necessarily mean that a recession is imminent. Yields may be influenced by other factors, and there are positive economic signs too. Consumer spending remains strong, and the labor market remains near 50-year lows. The U.S. economy should also grow 2.3 percent in 2019.
What can policymakers do to avoid an economic downturn?
Central banks around the world are easing monetary policies to stimulate growth, or to provide an “insurance policy” for the economy so economic recovery can be sustained. These trends have pushed 10-year Treasury yields to their lowest levels since October 2016.
Manufacturers remain optimistic about the future, but in order to keep growing, we need to address the workforce crisis and resolve trade uncertainties. Namely, passing the USMCA, reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank and securing a bilateral trade agreement with China are necessary to ensure manufacturers in the U.S. can continue to grow.
Right now, one-quarter of the manufacturing workforce is over 55 years old. Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry is struggling to attract enough younger workers with the right skills and qualifications. Facing a workforce crisis—with open jobs in manufacturing recently reaching an all-time high—manufacturers are finding that retaining older workers is not only a necessity but an asset.
The Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, recently conducted a survey to discover how companies are addressing this shifting demographic challenges.
This workforce issue affects nearly all manufacturers, the study found. Ninety-seven percent of respondents reported that they fear losing institutional knowledge when these workers depart.
“Manufacturing is facing a demographic sea change—leaders in the industry know it, and many are proactively adapting to it,” said Chad Moutray, the Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research director and the National Association of Manufacturers’ chief economist. “Given the current workforce crisis, other manufacturers should look to the successful initiatives being implemented in the industry and collectively expand on them to develop the workforce of tomorrow. The simple fact is that companies are very concerned about losing their top talent to retirement and are finding creative ways to keep them longer and to train younger workers.”
The study also examined the innovative approaches manufacturers can use to extend older workers’ productivity and help transfer institutional knowledge to the next generation. For example, manufacturers are implementing upskilling and training programs to address the challenges this demographic may experience. Sixty-nine percent of companies said they had on-the-job training programs, and 54 percent said they have internal technical training programs.
“Manufacturers are utilizing the expertise of their older workers, implementing policies and procedures to keep them longer and creating opportunities to pass on their knowledge and talents to the next generation,” said Carolyn Lee, the Manufacturing Institute’s executive director. “The reason for this is clear: unlocking the knowledge of today’s older manufacturing workers is critical to shaping tomorrow’s industry leaders.”