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.
The Economic Development Administration has $3 billion to spend on job training—and manufacturers should start preparing now to attract some of that funding to their regions.
What’s happening: The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Biden in March, set aside $3 billion for a historic investment by the EDA in bottom-up economic development, according to a recent information session hosted by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the NAM.
- Part of that money includes $500 million for the EDA’s Good Jobs Challenge, which helps fund job-training programs from design and development through implementation.
Applicants wanted: Applications for the funding—which can be spent by eligible recipients on a wide variety of expenses, including curriculum development, equipment purchases and training-facility leases—are due Jan. 26, 2022. (Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity here.)
“One of the key things we’re looking for in these proposals is a commitment to hire,” said EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Michele Chang. “We are in a time where we want to get folks back into jobs quickly.”
Who’s eligible? While nearly all types of public and private nonprofit groups are eligible, the EDA is seeking organizations that have strong credibility with employers and a proven track record of success.
- How manufacturers can help: Raise this grant opportunity with your trusted economic development or workforce partner and encourage them to contact the MI at [email protected] to learn more.
- A good fit: The EDA program is a natural fit for the MI’s efforts, according to MI Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Gardner Carrick. As he put it, “We are all working to attract more individuals to manufacturing.”
Boot Camp: Those who want to put their best foot forward during the EDA application process should consider the MI Boot Camp. These eight coaching sessions, which will run from mid-September to mid-December, will include workshops, discussions and expert mentorship designed to help applicants compete for the funds.
- The MI Boot Camp is provided free of charge, but attendees will be selected via an application process. Email [email protected] for more information and how to apply.
Why it matters: Manufacturers are dealing with a worrying lack of skilled workers. As of July, the industry had a total of 889,000 job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This vacuum could grow to 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a recent study by Deloitte and the MI—an excellent reason to expand training programs as fast as possible.
The last word: The MI encourages all those who meet eligibility requirements to apply for funds to support their job-training programs. Said Carrick: “The EDA has to be commended for what is really a very impressive grant program.”
Interested in more of the NAM and MI’s work to attract workers to the manufacturing industry? Check out our Creators Wanted campaign.
With major policy issues coming to a head this fall in Washington, the National Association of Manufacturers this week launched Manufacturers United – a new digital platform to power the industry’s grassroots advocacy.
We spoke with some of the people behind the effort to learn more about what it does, how it works, and why manufacturers across the country should use it to highlight their priorities and make their voices heard.
What it does: Manufacturers United provides a clear platform and a wide range of easy-to-use tools for individual manufacturers to take action to advance the industry’s policy priorities:
- “Manufacturers United is the central resource where manufacturers, those who work in our industry and everyday Americans who care about the future of manufacturing in the United States can come together and take meaningful action, said Assistant Vice President for Advocacy at the NAM Michael O’Brien. “Congress is currently working on urgent priorities ranging from infrastructure investments to revisiting tax reform. Manufacturers United gives you the tools and resources — from posting key messages to social media, sending a message to your representative, all the way to helping you attend a congressional town hall, or host a member at your facility — that help you take action.”
A helping hand: In addition to giving manufacturers the tools to advocate for their causes, Manufacturers United also offers access to members of NAM staff who can help you navigate and make effective use of these advocacy tools and opportunities.
Why it matters: Research shows that persistent, sustained advocacy is incredibly important – and that outreach from individual constituents has the most impact, especially when policymakers are undecided on an issue. MU unleashes the power of manufacturers who have been interested in advocacy, but haven’t known where to start.
“The NAM will always be there to serve up full and comprehensive information on policy matters and other leading issues, but we’re seeing a real hunger from our members to actually join the fight,” said NAM Grassroots Strategist Alex Przybelski. “Manufacturers United helps them scale campaigns themselves and move their issues forward.”
How it works: Manufacturers United is designed to help individuals take a number of actions in support of manufacturing priorities. A few ways to plug in are:
- Get up to speed and take action on current issues like fighting new taxes on manufacturers, advancing historic infrastructure investment, and other major issues
- Sign up by texting MU to 52886 for updates about the major issues MU is working on (or just visit the homepage and sign up)
- Get to know the NAM staff who can help you put these tools to work
The bottom line: “Manufacturers United is about harnessing the power of manufacturing voices,” said O’Brien. “What’s at stake, fast facts and useful statistics, how to take action – it’s all there to help individual manufacturers find information and act on it to create an impact.”
Learn more: Find out more at www.manufacturersunited.org.
What’s it like to make machines that capture the news, fight crime and train pretty much every helicopter pilot? For Robinson Helicopter Company, a manufacturer of civil helicopters, that’s just another day at work.
NAM Director of Photography David Bohrer took a trip to the Robinson facility in Torrance, California, to get an up-close look at what they do. Here’s what he saw.
Attention to detail is a core value of Robinson’s workforce. Here, two of Robinson’s employees focus on the critical work they do to make sure Robinson’s helicopters can perform successfully and safely.
The people who use Robinson’s machines are precious cargo—and so employees are careful to make sure that every piece, no matter how small, is handled correctly.
Robinson’s employees work hard on their machines—inside and out.
With a few finishing touches—like the rotor blades—this R44 Raven II will be ready for flight.
At Robinson, the work is never done. Here, a group of helicopters-in-progress wait to join the more than 13,000 helicopters that the company has already delivered worldwide.
The last word: “We are proud to be the world’s leading producer of civil helicopters and take great pride in our employees and their commitment to quality,” said Robinson President and Chairman Kurt Robinson.
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.”
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.
As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps changing, plenty of manufacturers are looking for answers on how to protect their employees. To help clarify where we stand and what comes next, the NAM hosted a town hall on the strategies manufacturers are deploying to keep workplaces safe as well the vaccine policies some companies are implementing in response to the delta variant.
Who participated: Moderated by NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling, the webinar featured Dr. Michael Ybarra of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association (PhRMA); NAM Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Linda Kelly; Senior Director of Global Compensation & Mobility R.J. Corning of Whirlpool Corporation; and Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Shannon Lapierre of Stanley Black & Decker.
The vaccination deal: Dr. Ybarra gave a rundown of the current state-of-play in the pandemic, detailing the various kinds of vaccines—protein-based, viral vector, and mRNA—and laying out which vaccines have been approved for use in the U.S. (Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna). He explained the reasons why variants are occurring, and the possible need for booster shots as the effectiveness of vaccines wanes and variants create further challenges.
- Who’s at risk: “It’s still the unvaccinated,” said Dr. Ybarra. “It’s people who are young and think they’re invincible and don’t need the vaccine, and people who maybe just got one dose of the vaccine and didn’t complete their series. That’s the super high risk.”
- Masks on: “Even if you’re vaccinated, you should wear a mask indoors,” said Dr. Ybarra. “You don’t want to stress test the vaccine.”
- An important reminder: Ybarra noted a “humbling reality”: that almost all of the current COVID-19 deaths are among unvaccinated people.
“The best thing you can do right now is get the vaccine if you’re not vaccinated,” said Dr. Ybarra. “It’ll provide protection against the worst impacts of COVID-19. And if you’re in that high stress environment of being indoors with people whom you don’t know are vaccinated, it’s important to wear a mask because it will provide that extra layer of protection.”
An NAM policy rundown: Kelly provided an overview of the NAM’s policies and explained its phased approach to a vaccine mandate for all employees.
- A vaccine mandate: In July, the NAM made a decision to require all NAM employees to be vaccinated or to seek accommodations for medical or religious reasons by September 20.
- A NAM, a plan: “This decision was not taken lightly,” said Kelly. “We talked about it for a long time, we worked through a lot of issues, we sought outside legal advice on it. But we saw it as the next evolution on our ongoing workplace safety posture during the pandemic.”
- Good feedback: “As we have been rolling this out…we’ve actually heard from a number of employees who have thanked us, because the policy has made them feel safer about being in the office,” said Kelly.
- Useful advice: “No matter what you’re doing on your vaccine policies, you need to have your HR, your legal team, and your communications team working very closely together,” she added.
Cases in point: Corning and Lapierre discussed the actions they have taken at Whirlpool and Stanley Black & Decker to prioritize employee health and safety.
- Masking up: Both Whirlpool and Stanley Black & Decker have responded to the increase in cases by re-imposing mask mandates.
- Incentivizing vaccines: While vaccines are not yet mandatory for employees, Whirlpool is focused on making it easy for people to be vaccinated—in particular by holding large onsite vaccination clinics where possible. It is also providing $250 to people who get vaccinated. Stanley Black & Decker has sent its chief medical officer and local doctors to facilities where vaccine uptake is low to answer questions and provide encouragement. The company has also set up on-site vaccine clinics where possible.
- Collecting data: Whirlpool is working to collect data from its employees to better understand who is getting vaccinated, and to gather information on any breakthrough infections. Stanley Black & Decker, meanwhile, surveyed its employees early on in order to gauge interest in vaccinations so it could target its efforts appropriately. Both are taking care to protect their workers’ confidentiality.
The last word: “We’re not going to have all the answers, but we can help guide people in the right direction and help them make the best choices for their circumstances,” said Boerstling.
The past 18 months have been trying for students of all ages, as they have navigated virtual learning in place of or in combination with in-person classes. But for many of those enrolled in the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program, 2020 and 2021 have presented a unique educational and professional opportunity.
The background: Founded by Toyota and now operated by The Manufacturing Institute, FAME is the top U.S. program for training students who seek careers in manufacturing. Enrollees who complete it earn associate degrees and certification as advanced manufacturing technicians (AMTs), while working part time in manufacturing facilities—and being paid competitively.
- “After two years of increasing experience, consistent organizational and cultural acclimation, as well as professional growth—coupled with the company’s investment made in wages—most graduating AMTs (about 85%) go to work for the sponsoring employer upon graduation,” MI Workforce Initiatives Senior Director Tony Davis told us.
The first pandemic opening: Despite the global outbreak of COVID-19 less than six months prior, FAME saw the opening of a new chapter in fall 2020: FAME on the Plains, based in Opelika, Alabama.
- “It was a challenge, to say the least,” says Davis. “But they recruited about nine students.” Three will graduate in May 2022, having overcome some unprecedented challenges.
- In fact, the chapter remained undaunted and, thanks to the appeal of the earn-and-learn FAME model, is heading into fall 2021 with 25 AMT students.
Nine more chapters, coming soon: That one chapter was only the beginning. Thanks to its successful virtual recruitment efforts and other outreach, FAME will open nine new chapters in 2021. This explosive growth—nearly 40% since last year—brings the number of national FAME chapters to 32 across 12 states. Here are the new chapters by state:
- Colorado: Colorado will get its first FAME chapter, CO FAME of Pueblo.
- Florida: Florida, also a first timer, will get not one but two new chapters: the FL FAME – Gulf Coast Chapter of Bay County/Panama City and the FL FAME – Sunshine Chapter of Volusia County/Daytona Beach.
- Indiana: Indiana will acquire chapters two, three and four in the state: the Central, Hoosier and NEI chapters, which are located respectively in Indianapolis, Anderson and Fort Wayne. These chapters join the IN FAME – So.INFAME Chapter of Vincennes.
- Michigan: Michigan will also get a new entry on the FAME map, thanks to the MI FAME – JAMA Chapter of Jackson.
- Texas: Texas will get its second location, the TX FAME – Dallas Chapter of Garland.
- Virginia: And last, Virginia is also starting its first chapter, the VA FAME – Central Virginia Chapter of Prince George County/Petersburg.
The last word: “We are proud to welcome so many new locations into the FAME network,” said MI Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Gardner Carrick. “It is a testament to the seriousness of the workforce shortage and the success of the FAME model that companies have been willing to invest in this solution during this challenging year. We’re excited to support these new companies and look forward to welcoming hundreds of new FAME students this fall.”
Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka.
“America has lost a tremendous leader with the sudden passing of Richard Trumka. I was privileged to call him a friend and colleague, working with him closely on issues ranging from infrastructure and workforce development to protecting civil rights and advancing equality. Like so many others, I learned a great deal from him along the way and admired his unshakeable authenticity and decency.
“He was a patriot and a statesman who demonstrated unwavering strength of purpose and never forgot who he represented. We may have sparred at times on policy priorities, but one thing was always clear: whether we aligned on an issue or took differing views, he was fighting with conviction on behalf of American workers and for a stronger America.
“Perhaps most of all, I appreciated his belief that management and workers have far more that unites them than divides them. He shared a commitment to the preservation and expansion of democracy here and around the world. He understood that our economy’s success and workers’ future depend on faith in our institutions. His powerful words in response to the January 6 insurrection are stamped in history and exemplified his resolve to stand strong against forces that would undermine our constitutional democracy.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Barb, his family and to his AFL-CIO colleagues. His vision, voice and leadership will be greatly missed, but America is truly blessed to have had his countless contributions.”
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.
Washington, D.C. – Today, following President Joe Biden’s decision to require vaccinations of all federal employees, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:
“The lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines were made for us, by people like us—manufacturers in the United States. They are proven, safe and the only way we can save lives, end the pandemic and sustain our economic recovery. Since vaccines became available, manufacturers have been leading by example, helping their employees access vaccines and confidently get vaccinated, and we support all efforts to get more Americans vaccinated so we can beat back COVID-19 and the aggressive delta variant and save lives.
“Through our This Is Our Shot project, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute have equipped manufacturers with resources to help their teams get vaccinated and protect their communities—ranging from videos, graphics and vaccine locators to FAQs and in-depth communications guides. On our own team, the NAM achieved a voluntary vaccination rate of 98%, and to ensure our staff and those with whom we interact are as safe as possible, we then made the decision to require vaccinations by mid-September.
“Manufacturers will continue to lead by example and work with the administration to promote vaccination and with our employees and communities to provide them the information they need. The recent surge in cases is a reminder that this pandemic is not over, but with these vaccines, it is within our power to dramatically change the trajectory of this virus.”
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
We’re just two months away from MFG Day 2021! If you’re a manufacturer and you haven’t done so already, it’s time to start thinking about hosting an event.
Amplifying the “Creators Wanted” message, MFG Day—which officially falls on October 1 but will be celebrated throughout the rest of the month—is manufacturing’s biggest celebration of the year, a chance for parents, students and educators to step inside the industry and see everything it has to offer. It’s nothing less than our biggest annual opportunity to “solve the workforce–development crisis,” as MI Senior Director of Student Engagement Julia Asoni put it during a recent webinar.
Here’s what you need to know.
The crisis: Manufacturers will need to hire 4 million workers between now and 2030 to account for growth and fill positions left open by retiring workers, according to a recent study by Deloitte and the MI. Yet 2.1 million of those jobs could go unfilled because of the skills gap.
- “The solution is to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and educate students, parents, teachers and the public on the important role that manufacturers play in our lives,” Asoni said.
Making a difference: In 2019, more than 325,000 MFG Day participants took part in 3,000 events across North America, Asoni noted. Afterward, 72% said they now believed “manufacturing provides an interesting and rewarding career.”
- MFG Day 2020 moved online due to the pandemic, but this year, it’s back in force and in person.
What can you do? Manufacturers that wish to host an event this MFG Day but don’t know where to start have come to the right place.
- In-person options: Facility tours, open houses, community gatherings and expos, roundtable discussions and job fairs all make excellent events, Asoni said.
- Go virtual: Virtual events can be successful, too. Consider Zoom, GoTo Meeting, Instagram Live, Facebook or a specific school platform (if working in partnership with a school). Interested in hosting a 3D-mapped, virtual experience for MFG Day? Contact NAM AVP of Strategic Partnerships Chris Schmitt at [email protected].
- “What will participants do?” Engaging working employees during onsite tours is crucial, Asoni said. “Personal experience has the greatest impact on perception change, according to research.” So get creative when thinking through your visits and walk-throughs!
- “Whom do we invite?” Reach out to local schools and community-based organizations, such as nearby Boys & Girls Clubs of America. BGCA can be contacted for partnership purposes at [email protected].
- Learn more about MFG Day through our full page of MFG Day resources. And listen to prior best practices shared by MFG Day hosts on a webinar hosted last month.
Register your event: Be sure to register your MFG Day events by the end of August. This will help people find them and sign up.
Calls to action: MFG Day event hosts should each have their own calls to action—steps that attendees can take to keep engaging with manufacturing. This could be signing up for a company newsletter, following the company on social-media channels or attending another event, such as a career day.
- This year, we’re launching a built-in call to action to engage students year-round. Stay tuned for more information in September!
Check it out: As MFG Day nears, keep checking in on CreatorsWanted.org. It will be updated and refreshed continually up to Oct. 1 with new MFG Day resources, along with updates on the broader Creators Wanted campaign to help inspire, educate and empower the next generation of manufacturing talent.
More support: Need a bit more help? Join us for some real-time Q&A during one of our upcoming MFG Day Office Hours.
Jennifer Boland-Masterson originally got excited about manufacturing because of the robots. The Indiana native later graduated from Purdue University with a degree in electrical engineering, then worked in the automotive and boat industries before joining Boeing. Today, she is Boeing’s director of operations, Space Launch System, and leads the team that is building NASA’s SLS rocket—the most powerful rocket in development today.
“The plan is to get us back to the moon, and then to Mars, and this rocket has the payload to make it happen,” says Boland-Masterson. “We’re building the next generation of the space program, and that’s my day-to-day.”
A manufacturing advocate: Boland-Masterson was recently selected by The Manufacturing Institute as a 2021 STEP Ahead Award Honoree—an honor given to women leaders who have excelled both within their companies and in the industry as a whole. She sees sharing stories as an important way of encouraging other young women to go into manufacturing and frequently attends science, technology, engineering and math events in her community to demystify the industry for young people and their parents.
- “The earlier that girls and their parents understand that STEM events are not just for boys, and [the earlier] they see role models in the fields they aspire to be in, the better,” says Boland-Masterson. “It gives them that energy. They realize, hey, I can do that too.”
- “It might look male-dominated, but the dynamics are changing,” she adds. “You’re seeing more diversity in these engineering, tech, science areas. It’s exciting to see that change.”
It takes a village—and some confidence: Boland-Masterson emphasizes the importance of teamwork and of being able to build a community among your friends and colleagues.
- “Make sure you have a good support system,” she advises young people. “We can’t do it by ourselves. We have to have people we can ask for advice or help. Whether you’re a woman or a man, everyone needs that support system.”
- “We all will have challenges, but that’s okay,” she adds. “You’re your number one fan, and when you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything and everything you want.”
An unexpected journey: Even as someone who hoped to go into manufacturing from an early age, Boland-Masterson was surprised by the range of opportunities she encountered in the industry. Her work has turned out to be both international and interplanetary.
- “I would never have imagined as a kid that I would be building a rocket that will carry astronauts into deep space,” says Boland-Masterson. “I would never have guessed. Growing up in Indiana, I thought I would stay in Indiana my whole life. But getting into manufacturing, I’ve had an opportunity to go across the country and around the world.”
And does she work with robots?: “Believe it or not, I don’t work with any robots,” Boland-Masterson says, laughing. “My day-to-day is all about human interaction. But I say keep an open mind and that will take you to wonderful, unexpected places.”