Diversity and Inclusion: What You Need to Know

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If you’re a manufacturer looking to begin—or improve—your diversity and inclusion efforts, you’ll need some expert advice. That’s why The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers—hosted a virtual summit recently on D&I development, drawing together a variety of experts in one comprehensive event. Now you can watch the event online, and to get you started, we’ll give you a quick overview.

Why it matters: Manufacturing workers are deeply diverse in all sorts of ways: age, gender, race and ethnicity, ability and sexual orientation—not to mention education, life experience and socioeconomic background. To be competitive, businesses must be able to connect with the skills and experiences of a wide range of communities.

The main events: The first day of the summit was broken down into several “dimensions” of D&I, each with its own panel of experts:

  • Race Dimension: Representatives from HBCU Connect, Pfizer and Ingredion discussed how leaders can promote racial equity in their companies and communities—including by setting measurable hiring goals and increasing internal candidate development.
  • Ability Dimension: Panelists from Autism Speaks, Stanley Black & Decker and Lee Container Corporation discussed their work with manufacturers to create 1 million employment and leadership opportunities by 2025 for people with autism and intellectual and/or developmental differences. The panelists highlighted data showing how neuro-diverse individuals strengthen the workforce overall.
  • Sexual Orientation Dimension: Representatives of Out Leadership and Dow spoke about how manufacturers can stand up for LGBT+ equality and D&I overall. They recommended supporting LGBT+ equality by being vocal allies and signing on to court cases that protect LGBT+ rights. They also talked about why bringing your whole self to the workplace is critical.
  • Military Dimension: Panelists from the MI, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Johnson & Johnson discussed how manufacturers can connect directly to transitioning service members, veterans, the National Guard, reservists and active-duty military spouses, including through programs like the MI’s Heroes MAKE America—an integrated training, certification and career-readiness initiative.
  • Gender Dimension: Panelists from the MI, Fresenius Medical Care North America and BASF Corporation discussed the steps companies can take to support women in manufacturing—such as creating supportive women-led networks within their businesses and ensuring uniforms are available in female sizes. They also noted the critical progress made so far by programs like the MI’s STEP Women’s Initiative and through local employee resource groups.
  • Age Dimension: With one-quarter of the manufacturing workforce over 55 years old, manufacturers must adapt to the needs of older workers. Panelists from AARP, ALOM and Winton Machine Company discussed the importance of two-way learning and how creating mentor–mentee relationships between younger and older employees can build a stronger workforce.

And that’s not all. . . Day Two featured an executive panel titled “Voices from Leadership,” with leaders from the MI, Arconic, Intel Corporation and Deloitte. It also included a goals-oriented panel called “Building D&I Into Team and Individual Goals,” featuring speakers from the MI, BP America, Trane Technologies and Covestro, which focused on how to put this work into practice.

The last word: “We need to close the racial inequities and the gaps that we have in our society because it is the right thing to do, but it is also the economic imperative for our sector,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “We need more people—and the workforce of the future is going to look different than the workforce of today.”

Press Releases

Timmons Celebrates Clark as U.S. Chamber’s Next CEO, Honors Donohue’s Legacy

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement following the announcement of Suzanne Clark to succeed Tom Donohue as CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Congratulations to my friend Suzanne Clark on her appointment to lead the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Extraordinarily well respected by her peers, fiercely dedicated to the success of American enterprise and constantly guided by a clear moral compass, she’s long been a strong advocate in the association community. And now, as she steps up as the Chamber’s new CEO, the business association community will be turning to her for inspiration and guidance as we all chart the way forward during this consequential moment in our nation’s history.

“More than ever, our country is counting on the business community to lead—to be part of the solution in healing the divisions in America, in defeating COVID-19 and in rebuilding our economy. We are being called upon to be champions for the values that make the United States exceptional—free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity. And perhaps like no time before, we have a critical role to play in safeguarding our precious American democracy. Knowing Suzanne’s firm belief in this mission, I look forward to working alongside her in the years ahead.

“The NAM and the Chamber have long enjoyed a special relationship, sharing many state and national industry association partners and working together to advance policies that create opportunities for America’s manufacturing workers. Under Suzanne’s leadership, I have no doubt that our partnership will continue to thrive and grow even stronger.

“I also congratulate Tom Donohue on a storied career. He is a true friend and has been a valued mentor. I’ve learned so much from him through the years. Tom is an institution, and he leaves a formidable legacy of growth and success as a champion of American business. I wish him great happiness in his retirement and look forward to the time when we can all gather together and raise a glass to his phenomenal 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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.32 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


The NAM and PTC Launch the “Makers Series”

The NAM’s creative shop, always on the cutting edge, is bringing you something new: a collaboration with PTC to showcase the digital transformation in manufacturing. Today, the NAM and PTC are launching a series of co-branded videos to show both manufacturers and the public what the future will look like.

Watch: Before we go any further, take a few minutes to watch the first video in this series. In it, robotics company Hirebotics talks about how PTC’s Onshape cloud-based system allows it to design innovative welding robots that can be directed by a smartphone—and hired out to whatever company needs them.

The background: Over the past year, PTC has become a more visible presence to NAM members as a national sponsor of the association, expanding the NAM’s support of manufacturers in the United States and helping companies capitalize on digital technologies.

But the origins of this collaboration go back further than that. This sponsorship is a continuation of NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons’ “2020 Vision,” which he outlined back in 2015. Timmons envisioned turning the NAM into a “one-stop shop” for manufacturers—in advocacy, workforce development, legal action, news and more. Now, with PTC’s help, the NAM is giving voice (and visuals) to the industry’s future in more ways.

And there’s more . . . This series isn’t the only product of the collaboration—PTC President and CEO Jim Heppelmann has lent his expertise to the NAM’s board meetings and Leading Edge events, most recently giving a keynote address at the virtual Leading Edge Supply Chain Forum. Those of you interested in the business implications of the internet of things, augmented reality and the emergence of SaaS-based industrial solutions won’t want to miss his appearances in the future.

PTC says: Mike DiTullio, PTC’s president of SaaS business and an NAM board member, said of the partnership, “By partnering with the NAM on the Makers Series, we hope to inspire manufacturers with stories of how software is empowering manufacturers to transform and drive outcomes never thought imaginable. We are proud to be a member of the NAM, and even more proud to support the manufacturers of America.”

The NAM says: Timmons said of the partnership, “Through the Makers Series, PTC is providing powerful thought leadership, showcasing the incredible technologies that define modern manufacturing. We’re grateful that they are sharing their expertise and sponsoring this exciting initiative. They have created a model that demonstrates what the NAM is capable of producing alongside our members.”

Business Operations

Hirebotics’ Co-Founders on Powering a Remote Team with PTC Onshape

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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. Meet Rob Goldiez and Matthew Bush, co-founders of Hirebotics. In this edition of the NAM’s Makers Series, Goldiez and Bush explain how Hirebotics uses PTC’s Onshape cloud-based CAD system to power its design teams.

Policy and Legal

Lawmakers Push for Retroactive Tax Increase

Key members of Congress are seeking to include a significant rollback of net operating loss relief in a COVID-19 relief bill, according to Politico (subscription).

What it is: When a company’s deductible expenses are greater than its revenues, it results in a net operating loss. Under the CARES Act, companies with losses from 2018, 2019 and 2020 can carry these losses back for the five previous years and have the losses offset up to 100% of taxable income, providing critical liquidity through tax refunds.

  • Some members of Congress now want to limit carrybacks of businesses’ 2020 losses to only two prior tax years, while also limiting the amount of relief for pass-throughs.

Why it matters: The provision provides important liquidity support, especially for small and medium-sized manufacturers. Eliminating or reducing it could make it more challenging for manufacturers to keep workers on the payroll and stay in business, says NAM Senior Director of Tax Policy David Eiselsberg. Ultimately, it would amount to a major retroactive tax increase on businesses and workers that are critical to our pandemic response.

Blast from the past: As President Barack Obama said in a 2009 interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, “The last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession.”

A more recent statement: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during her confirmation hearing that the Biden administration’s “focus right now is not on tax increases; it’s on programs to help us through the pandemic.”

The NAM says: “Net operating loss relief is a vital tool for manufacturers that are working hard to stay in business and support their employees across the country,” said Eiselsberg. “Undoing this critical liquidity support would not only hurt the ability of businesses to get through the pandemic but would also result in a retroactive tax increase on a sector that is key to America’s success.”

Press Releases

In Fight Against COVID-19, Partnership on DPA Is Critical

Timmons: “Manufacturers stand ready to continue doing our part.”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the Biden administration’s use of the Defense Production Act:

“Manufacturers have consistently advised the federal government that the Defense Production Act is most productive if deployed in a way that fosters partnership and provides incentives—rather than imposing demands or punitive measures.

“With this announcement, the Biden administration is demonstrating that they have listened to manufacturers and are seeking a true partnership in defeating COVID-19.

“These measures will strengthen our ability to continue providing the treatments and vaccines that we need to save lives, the equipment we need to protect frontline workers and the food and supplies that families need for their everyday lives. Manufacturers stand ready to continue doing our part.

“We will also continue to set the standard for safe behaviors—wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and, when able, getting vaccinated.”

Background: In December 2020, the NAM sent a letter to members of the Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board, providing manufacturers’ insights on constructive uses of the DPA.


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 $2.32 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


Manufacturing Institute Partnership Enhances Railroad’s Hiring Reach

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Union Pacific is seeking a more diverse workforce as it strives to continue “building America,” as it says. To do so, it is partnering with The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce development and education partner, on a $3 million three-year joint initiative. Beth Whited, who serves as executive vice president and chief human resource officer at Union Pacific, recently told us more about these ambitious plans.

The details: The initiative, called Careers on Track, will work to inspire more women and youth to pursue modern industry careers. The funding supports workforce development and career solutions that will include:

  • A new digital STEM curriculum;
  • A virtual STEM experience—in which participants can “choose their own adventure” while exploring interactive 3D models of a real facility, locomotive and more;
  • A STEM micro-grant program for young people; and
  • A digital campaign showcasing industry career opportunities for underserved women in select regions.

Ultimately, Union Pacific intends to double the number of women in the UP workforce within the next 10 years.

Why partnerships matter: “These types of partnerships are important for us because they broaden our reach,” says Whited. “We run pilot programs of our own, but it’s difficult for us to make those available in every school in our served territory. With the MI’s broad reach and established programs, we can reach more women and youth than we could on our own.”

The scope: Whited likes to remind people that nearly everything in their homes moves by rail at some point, whether as a raw material or as a finished product. That also means there is a wide range of jobs involved, from skilled roles in transportation and manufacturing to civil, electrical and computer engineering—jobs that involve designing more fuel-efficient locomotives or building the freight cars of the future.

The tech: “People who don’t know much about railroads are always surprised by the level of high tech that’s employed,” says Whited. “Railroads have been around for 160 years plus, and so people think about it as old technology, but it absolutely isn’t.

  • “You’ve got unbelievable signaling systems run everything safely, next-level optimization tools that determine how and when trains run, sophisticated technology in the 4,500 horsepower locomotives that we use to haul freight and so much more. The level of tech and advanced analytics and machine technology is usually quite startling to people.”

The pitch: Whited has advice for women who are unsure about working in a traditionally male-dominated field. “I would tell people to challenge their own thinking,” says Whited. “There aren’t jobs that are for men and jobs that are for women; there are jobs—and these are great jobs with great benefits that will help you fulfill your goals and give you a sense of pride. Come try it.”

The last word: As MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee said about this partnership, “There are nearly 500,000 job openings right now in manufacturing and millions more expected over the next decade. Closing the gender gap and building awareness with young people are critical to meeting this incredible need.”

Business Operations

How an Analytics Company Keeps Hospitals Running

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Behind every hospital bed, doctor, ventilator, mask and the millions of other components that make up a hospital is the same thing: a prediction. How much will we need, and where, and when? Analytics make those predictions as precise as possible—and that’s never been more essential than during COVID-19.

Analytics software company SAS understood the problem better than almost anyone. And not long after the pandemic started, it partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to create an innovative dashboard that would help hospitals optimize their resources and keep saving lives.

How it started: On March 17, the Cleveland Clinic asked SAS to create models that could predict the spread of COVID-19. They wanted to understand the strain that COVID-19 might put on the hospital, and by extension, its resources—from ventilators to PPE to dialysis machines to their doctors’ time.

Why it’s different: While plenty of organizations around the world were building epidemiology curves to track the course of the virus, SAS and the Cleveland Clinic built a framework that offers more. The collaborative team came up with a range of scenarios based on varying inputs like virus transmissibility and social distancing. With SAS vetting the math behind the models, the Cleveland Clinic identified which curve it was on at a given time and developed action plans in advance.

How it worked: The models helped the Cleveland Clinic identify markers for potential surge scenarios and recognize when the actual severity of the outbreak would fall short of some projections. That means it did not have to cancel planned events like routine surgeries and treatments and was able to continue treating non-COVID-19 patients.

  • “One of the challenges of this pandemic is the public health cost of dislodging patients with cancer or chronic disease to make room for COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Steve Bennett, director of the global government practice at SAS. “These models can tell you that you may not need the surge capacity; you can keep doing the sorts of standard work that you’re doing. That has a valuable public health benefit.”

Sharing the wealth: SAS didn’t want to keep such a potentially valuable tool to themselves—so the team made their code publicly available on software development site GitHub. Other hospitals and public health agencies have adapted it, given feedback and made it their own, thus contributing to innovation and effective response.

  • “Cleveland Clinic is very advanced in analytics—but at the same time, they really wanted to help smaller organizations and smaller clinic hospitals that may not have big data science teams,” said Natalia Summerville, senior manager at SAS. “That’s why they allowed us to make everything publicly available, which was amazing.”

What’s next: The technology has applications even beyond the current crisis. “SAS aspires to be the platform of the future,” said Dan Abramson, executive director of U.S. manufacturing at SAS (and an NAM board member). “It’s got capabilities in modeling and AI and data management and visualization. So, the knowledge we gain from projects like these can be a launching point for pretty much any business problem or challenge.”

The last word: “The collaboration worked,” said Andrew Williams, principal analytical solutions architect at SAS. “The analyst community has always spoken very highly of our technology and analytic capabilities in AI, machine learning and optimization—and I think what we’ve shown here is that we can apply them to critical use cases across the board and across industries.”

Press Releases

Manufacturers Honor Former NAM Board Chair Farr on His Retirement

Timmons: David Farr is the quintessential example of how one person can make a profound and positive difference in the world

Washington, D.C. – Following the announcement of Emerson Chairman and CEO and former National Association of Manufacturers Board Chair David Farr’s retirement, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:

“David Farr is the quintessential example of how one person can make a profound and positive difference in the world. I had a front row seat in watching Dave at work, fighting to make not just his own company but every manufacturer in America more competitive and more successful as he served as Chair of the National Association of Manufacturers.

“His passion for manufacturing is no surprise to anyone who knows him. He will quickly tell you that his career was inspired as a kid by visits to the shop floor with his father. After many decades in the business, he gets almost giddy when he talks about the changes in our industry and how much we have contributed to our exceptional country and to the progress of the world.

“During his time as Chair, he played an instrumental and historic role at the White House and in the halls of Congress in securing once-in-a-generation tax reform and highly impactful regulatory certainty, both of which provided a tremendous boost to the industry and new opportunities for America’s manufacturing workers. Because of his relentless drive and dedication, manufacturers invested more in America, hired more American workers and raised wages and benefits.

“A respected executive and champion for his community, Dave has set a high standard for leadership. Many of his NAM Board colleagues benefited from his example. I personally gained much knowledge and perspective while having the opportunity to serve alongside this amazing icon of American manufacturing.

“Knowing his boundless energy, he will undoubtedly continue to be an influential industry voice and a much sought-after expert for years to come. I’m grateful for his years of wise counsel and friendship—not to mention his boisterous sense of humor, including our much-underappreciated banter at our NAM board meetings. Rick and I, along with the entire NAM team, wish Dave and Lelia much happiness as they begin to write their next inspiring chapter.”


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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.32 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


Creators Wanted Kicks Off Virtual Campaign

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Creators Wanted, the pioneering workforce initiative from the NAM and MI, is adapting to the changing environment to continue its critical work to reduce the skills gap and end misperceptions about modern manufacturing.

What’s happening:
We’ve gone virtual! The NAM and MI are still doing the Creators Wanted Tour, but they have exchanged in-person experiences for virtual ones (at least for now). The upside: these events will now be accessible to many more people.

What’s the plan: We’re kicking off our first virtual event on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 10:00 a.m. EST. It will give you a sneak preview of what to expect during our Creators Wanted virtual events this year. (Click here for more information and to register.) After that, the NAM and MI will be making their way across the country, with virtual events aimed at different geographical areas.

What’s new and important:

  • The NAM—with the MI’s support and leadership—has launched the Pledge for Action. It’s a commitment by manufacturers to take real, tangible steps to reflect the diversity of the U.S. workforce over the next decade. Taking the Pledge and supporting Creators Wanted are great ways for manufacturers to help close the opportunity gap.
  • We’re collecting stories of creators around the country! Tell us about an amazing creator you know by visiting

Who’s it for: “Everyone! Well, we wouldn’t mind if everyone heard our message,” said NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas. “But the NAM and MI specifically want to reach out to people who are ready to explore a career in manufacturing now. Maybe they’ve lost a job in the pandemic and are looking for a new career, or perhaps they’re already involved in manufacturing but want to gain the skills that will take them to the next level.”

  • The NAM and MI also want to reach veterans and people who are underrepresented in manufacturing, including women, Black people and all communities of color.
  • And, of course, the initiative intends to connect with young people, the next generation of creators.

Picking up where we left off: “The NAM and MI set big goals with Creators Wanted in 2020—to improve perceptions of manufacturing, reduce the skills gap and get more people into manufacturing career paths,” said Kefalas. “On Feb. 2, we will demonstrate that we can hit these goals with a new combination of virtual events, digital experiences and eventually in-person activations.”

But that’s not all… “The event will cover how we’re going to expand our impact, as well as exceed sponsor expectations. You won’t want to miss it.”

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