Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturerstoday traveled to Minnesota to highlight the state’s modern manufacturing industry as part of the fifth annual NAM State of Manufacturing Tour. During the visit, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee met with students, business leaders and local manufacturers to discuss the industry’s optimistic outlook for the future, the high-tech, high paying opportunities in modern manufacturing and the urgent need to recruit the next generation of manufacturers.
We’re at the next frontier of manufacturing in the United States. We’re leading in technological advances, such as artificial intelligence, robotics and augmented reality, that will actually spur job creation, boost wages and help us lift everyone up and leave no one behind, said Timmons.
We should not fear the future. Powered by tax reform and regulatory certainty, manufacturers in America are keeping our promise to invest in our people and our communities. Modern manufacturing is vital to the Minnesota economy, and we’re driving innovation in agriculture, bioscience, energy and more. We’re stronger than ever, and that means we need to hire more innovators and creators than ever. With 428,000 jobs open today and 4.6 million to fill over the next decade, manufacturers across America are saying ‘creators wanted.’
Timmons and Lee began the day at Protolabs, touring its state-of-the-art facilities in both Plymouth and Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Students from Dunwoody College joined the tour and participated in a roundtable discussion about workforce opportunities with current employees, executives and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Protolabs President and CEO and NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Group Vice Chair Vicki Holt talked about the company’s partnerships with local colleges in the area and how Protolabs is prioritizing career development among their staff.
It’s our mission to provide an environment where our employees continue to learn and develop their manufacturing skills, said Holt. We know that investing in our current employees and the next generation of manufacturers is essential if we want to continue to compete in our field. Manufacturing offers incredible workforce opportunities for those who are willing to work hard, and we are constantly looking for those individuals.
Timmons, Lee and Mayor Frey then joined the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce for a roundtable discussion with the Chamber’s Manufacturers Coalition.
We are actively working to strengthen the state’s overall business climate. We believe the pathway toward economic prosperity is achieved by supporting private-sector innovators to fuel future growth and not make it more costly to do business in Minnesota, said Doug Loon, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. We are excited to have the NAM here today to share ideas about how we can continue to foster an environment where manufacturing thrives.
Timmons spent the second half of the day in Medina, Minnesota, touring Polaris, a local manufacturer that has grown into an international powerhouse in powersports vehicle manufacturing. Timmons met with a group of Polaris employees to discuss continued innovation in manufacturing and how Polaris has expanded its capabilities over the past six decades.
Lee visited Metal Trade Solutions, a machining, fabrication and mechanical design business in Winsted, Minnesota. She met the young co-founders Tobias Flood and Mark Eiden, their former shop teachers and members from Southwest Initiative Foundation. They discussed what drove the entrepreneurs to open their own business and the impact the technical program at St. Cloud Technical and Community College had on their career path.
For the past five years, the annual NAM State of Manufacturing Tour has focused the nation’s attention on the industry that is the backbone of America’s economy, highlighting the more than 12.8 million men and women who are building our future and solving tomorrow’s challenges today. The tour has traveled the country, bringing policy discussions and conversations about the future of work in the manufacturing industry to shop floors, schools, economic clubs, television studios, the White House and more. This year’s tour will spotlight the industry’s next frontier, while also focusing on manufacturing’s well-paying careers, the industry’s diverse workforce and the policy solutions that are essential for manufacturing’s continued growth.