Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers today traveled to Iowa 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, will boost wages and will 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 American are keeping our promise to invest in our people and our communities. Modern manufacturing is vital to the Iowa 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 Sukup Manufacturing Co. in Sheffield, Iowa, for a roundtable discussion about workforce development with former Sukup interns and current employees and executives. Sukup President and CEO Charles Sukup and Vice President and CFO Steve Sukup talked about their robust internship program that trains employees and discussed the positive impact tax reform had on business. In fact, Sukup hired 200 new people last year. Following the discussion, Sukup showcased the company’s innovative Safe T Homes, metal houses used in developing countries that can withstand the effects of natural disasters.
Businesses across the country are experiencing a skills gap, and Sukup is no exception, said Charles Sukup, president and CEO of Sukup. Thanks to economic policies that have given us the tools to invest, we are actively looking to hire for many different roles, from IT developers and mechanics to welders, technicians and more. We need to invest in our future workforce and we need to do it now.
The tour spent the second half of the day in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, focusing on the next generation of skilled manufacturers. Timmons and Lee visited Kirkwood Community College to learn more about their curriculum, observing students working in the Automation and Instrumentation, Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics, Electrical Engineering and Virtual Reality and Welding labs. Timmons and Lee also visited the Johnson County Regional Center at the University of Iowa, where educators showcased the proactive measures Kirkwood and the Johnson County community are taking to attract high school students to the manufacturing industry.
Businesses across Iowa are enthusiastic about the state and national business climate, said Michael Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. We’re seeing job creation, wage growth and business expansion. However, attracting and retaining a skilled workforce continues to be one of the biggest challenges for Iowa’s manufacturing community. We are thrilled to stand alongside the NAM today to demonstrate the many ways manufacturers are solving complicated problems.
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 the American 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.
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.