Manufacturers Celebrate Veterans at Heroes MAKE America Event

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Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston met with The Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America cohort at Fort Bragg.

On Tuesday, North Carolina’s Fort Bragg was the site of an event to celebrate America’s veterans and to highlight opportunities available in manufacturing for transitioning service members and their families.

The event was presented by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. The program highlighted the Institute’s Heroes MAKE America program, which aims to build a mutually beneficial pipeline between the military and manufacturing. Major manufacturers like Samsung, Novelis and Ingersoll Rand and the Arconic Foundation have supported the program and continue to be partners in supporting veterans who are interested in the rewarding careers modern manufacturing offers.

“Heroes MAKE America helps transitioning service members develop a well-paying, interesting and productive career after they complete their service,” said Carolyn Lee, Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute. “These individuals are in possession of the exact qualities and advanced skills that manufacturers seek, and the program prepares them be leaders in the industry.”

More than 200,000 men and women transition out of the military each year. There are about 500,000 jobs open in the manufacturing industry right now, and estimates suggest that manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs by 2028.

“The manufacturing industry presents an opportunity where specialized skills are utilized and workers contribute to projects that improve the world around them each and every day,” said Lee. “Heroes MAKE America connects transitioning service members to careers where they feel valued, inspired and where they can leverage the skills and training they developed in the military. Manufacturers that hire Heroes graduates also get workers with advanced specializations whose experiences make them prepared for new training and who show up on day one ready to lead and complete their new mission.”

The Heroes MAKE America program is growing rapidly, exploring new training options for 2020 and beginning to include participants from the National Guard as well as military spouses and fully separated veterans. The program is also planning to pilot online and hybrid models to encourage more participants who aren’t able to join full-time, diversifying its offerings and expanding its partnerships to include additional manufacturers and opportunities for veterans. So far this year, the program has graduated more than 125 individuals. More than half of all Heroes participants have over a decade of military service, and approximately one-quarter of Heroes graduates are in supervisory roles. The average salary of all graduates is nearly $70,000, with those in hourly roles making an average of $20 an hour.

The event’s program featured an informal reception, remarks by retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston and a panel of Heroes MAKE America graduates—including Joseph Smith, who has previously been profiled by the NAM.

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Urge Support for DACA Ahead of SCOTUS Decision

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The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a case that will decide the future of more than 800,000 immigrants living in the United States and will have serious implications for America’s workforce. The National Association of Manufacturers filed an amicus brief with 143 companies calling for the Supreme Court to uphold DACA while outlining the importance of Dreamers to America’s workplaces and the American economy.

“Eliminating DACA will inflict serious harm on U.S. companies, all workers, and the American economy as a whole. Companies will lose valued employees. Workers will lose employers and co-workers,” the brief states. “Our national GDP will lose up to $460.3 billion, and tax revenues will be reduced by approximately $90 billion, over the next decade.”

Established in 2012, DACA allowed undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children to apply for protection from deportation and permission to work in the United States. In 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the program, leading to a series of lawsuits that has brought the case to the Supreme Court. DACA recipients, often called “Dreamers,” will lose their work authorization and face possible deportation if the program is rescinded.

“Dreamers have become an integral part of our society and our workforce and have the potential to offer so much more to our country if they can continue their pursuit of the American Dream,” said Linda Kelly, NAM senior vice president of legal, general counsel and corporate secretary. “The NAM supports DACA’s work authorization for more than 800,000 individuals to help meet the workforce challenges facing manufacturers and to allow those people to continue to contribute to their companies, communities and families—as well as this country, which for many is the only home they have ever known.”

Earlier this year, the NAM released “A Way Forward,” a comprehensive and practical proposal designed to fix our broken immigration system. The plan calls for a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients as well as similar opportunities for the broader Dreamer community, which encompasses about 1.5 million people. Overall, “A Way Forward” highlights seven core areas of action that would bolster national security, uphold the rule of law and establish a modern, well-functioning system for welcoming new people to the United States. The uncertainty over the future of DACA recipients highlights the urgent need for Congress to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that achieves these goals.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on DACA by June 2020.

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Score SEC Victory in Proxy Firm Oversight

This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unveiled two rule proposals to provide oversight of proxy advisory firms and make targeted reforms to the shareholder proposal process. The National Association of Manufacturers has led the effort to bring these reforms to the proxy process, which are intended to make the proxy process more responsible to Main Street investors and more reflective of business realities.

Proxy advisory firms make voting recommendations to the asset managers who oversee Americans’ retirement savings. As a result, the firms have enormous influence over the policies of publicly traded companies, impacting the direction of businesses they have no stake in as well as the life savings of millions of Main Street investors. Unfortunately, a lack of oversight means proxy advisory firms often operate with undisclosed conflicts of interest and inadequate transparency, implement one-size-fits-all decision-making and make errors that impose significant costs and damaging policies on manufacturers and workers.

The SEC’s first proposed rule would institute reforms to the process by which proxy firms make recommendations and engage with issuers and investors, including requirements that the firms disclose their conflicts of interest and allow companies to highlight potential errors and misleading methodologies.

“This is a significant victory for manufacturers, workers and middle-class Americans across the country,” said Charles Crain, Director of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “Americans deserve a proxy process that protects their hard-earned money and sets up reasonable guardrails for the firms that impact their retirement savings, and that’s exactly what this rule proposes.”

A second SEC rule proposal would modify the submission and resubmission thresholds for placing shareholder proposals on companies’ proxy ballots, streamlining and depoliticizing the process in order to focus company management on the issues that impact investors’ long-term savings. Combined with the proxy firm proposal, these reforms represent the capstone of many years of advocacy and hard work from manufacturers across the country. Going forward, the SEC will hear public comments on both proposals as the agency works to finalize and implement the new rules.

“These rules will help ensure that proxy voting decisions are made in the best interests of Americans saving for a secure retirement and manufacturers planning for long-term growth,” said Crain. “At the NAM, we intend to keep working with the SEC to ensure that both proposals are finalized and implemented appropriately in the weeks and months ahead.”

Policy and Legal

Large and Small Manufacturers Call on Congress to Ratify USMCA Now

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As Congress moves toward a bipartisan deal on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), manufacturers are urging lawmakers to pass the agreement by Thanksgiving. Designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and agreed to last year by leaders from all three countries, the USMCA now awaits approval by Congress.

For companies like Memphis-based International Paper, the USMCA presents an opportunity to level the playing field with competitors around the world while providing benefits for Americans at home. According to the American Forest & Paper Association, U.S. pulp and paper exports to Canada and Mexico represented more than $10 billion in 2018, or about 45 percent of the industry’s total exports. Those exports to Canada and Mexico support an estimated 88,000 American jobs. Without the USMCA, that revenue—and those jobs—could be threatened.

“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critical for our company and our industry to compete in the international market,” said Mary M. Mann, Director of Government Relations and International Affairs at International Paper. “The agreement would protect open access for our industry’s exports to Canada and Mexico, promote sustainable forestry to combat illegal logging and support tens of thousands of jobs for hardworking Americans.”

For the Gowan Group of Companies, a family-owned business involved in agricultural inputs (including fertilizer, seed and crop protection products) headquartered in Yuma, Ariz., the USMCA would ensure economic certainty and continuity. Gowan’s sales within North America represent well over 50 percent of the company’s total sales, including substantial exports to Canada and Mexico. Tariff-free trade with Canada and Mexico supports jobs in Arizona, California, Texas and elsewhere in the United States.

“It is critical for Gowan and our ultimate customers – farmers – that products can flow throughout North America without delays, fees or other significant costs,” said Cindy Smith, Gowan’s Agricultural Relations Director. “Any delays or increased costs due to failure to pass the USMCA would damage our competitiveness and our ability to grow, add jobs, improve wages and invest in new products.”

“Manufacturers across America recognize the importance of updating our trade rules for a 21st-century economy,” said National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of International Economic Affairs Policy Linda Dempsey. “The USMCA has bipartisan support, and Congress should ratify the agreement immediately, providing certainty for American businesses to compete—and win—in the global economy.”

Despite representing less than 4 percent of the global economy, Canada and Mexico purchase more U.S.-manufactured goods than our next 11 trading partners combined. Exports to Canada and Mexico support 2 million manufacturing jobs and 40,000 small and medium-sized businesses across the United States. Comprehensive NAM data shows the USMCA’s positive impacts in every state.

If ratified, the agreement will expand U.S. exports, improve intellectual property protections and enforcement and level the playing field for U.S. workers. Manufacturers are urging quick passage of the USMCA to ensure their businesses can grow, compete globally and support millions of well-paying jobs.

Policy and Legal

Pence Calls for USMCA Action with the NAM at Schott Facility

Tell Congress to Pass USMCA

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Vice President Mike Pence and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross joined National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons at SCHOTT North America’s Duryea, Pa., facility yesterday to call for the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and highlight the agreement’s critical importance to American manufacturers.

“A vote for the USMCA is a vote for America’s manufacturing workers,” Timmons said at the event. “Manufacturers are raising our voices in unison, calling on Congress to ratify this agreement and provide businesses with a level playing field and certainty to compete, grow and win in the global market.”

Canada and Mexico are critical partners for American manufacturers, purchasing one-fifth of the total value of U.S. manufacturing output and supporting about 2 million American manufacturing jobs.

“The clock is ticking, so I want you to reach out,” Pence said. “Reach out to all of our elected officials in Washington, D.C. … and just tell them how important it is. Set politics aside and do what’s right for Pennsylvania and do what’s right for America.”

President Donald Trump also wrote a letter to SCHOTT, congratulating the glass manufacturer on its fiftieth anniversary. “Your products made here in the United States embody the industriousness of the American people and are a testament to the world-class quality of goods produced in our country,” Trump said.

Schott leaders provided a tour of their advanced optics production hub and research and development center for Pence, Ross and Timmons.

Learn more about why USMCA matters to every state.


FAME Program Gives Student Jumpstart in Auto Career

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.


Manufacturing Day Events Spur Workforce Interest

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.

Here’s a glimpse inside two events:

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.”

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.

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

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Benefit From Trump’s Guidance Document Input Requirement

President Trump signed two executive orders this week that will require federal agencies to go through a process of public input when issuing major guidance documents, and will force agencies to make useful guidance documents more openly available for the public. That process of issuing notice and soliciting public input is similar to what agencies are required to follow when issuing regulations.

“This is serious, real regulatory reform and the NAM has lobbied for changes like these for years,” the National Association of Manufacturers’ Vice President of Labor, Legal and Regulatory Policy Patrick Hedren said. “These two new executive orders make the world of agency guidance more transparent, and they give manufacturers a seat at the table when agencies begin to draft new guidance documents.”

Representing a federal agency’s current thinking on a topic, guidance documents can be issued faster than regulations and previously did not require a notice and comment period. While these documents are not meant to be legally binding, they often are the basis for regulatory enforcement decisions, and manufacturers tend to view them as binding from a practical perspective. The White House said guidance documents should be subject to the same level of public scrutiny because they can be just as impactful as regulations.

“Agency guidance is often crucial to help manufactures understand complex regulations and statutes,” Hedren said. “But at the same time this sub-regulatory ‘dark matter’ can create chaos for heavily regulated industries like ours when agencies try to use the guidance process to end-run important rulemaking protections like notice and comment.”

Since the executive orders go into effect immediately, agencies will now implement their responses to the orders.

A version of this news article appeared in The Input, the NAM’s members-only weekday morning newsletter for manufacturing executives.


The Nation Unites for Manufacturing Day

On Oct. 4, approximately 3,000 manufacturers and educational institutions opened their doors to students, educators, parents 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.

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.

Manufacturing Day shows students why they should consider a career in modern manufacturing and what skills manufacturing companies are looking for in employees.

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.

To get involved in Manufacturing Day, visit


Today is #MFGDay19

Manufacturers Open Their Doors on Manufacturing Day

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.

NAM’s President and CEO Jay Timmons will be joining a Manufacturing Day event at a Samsung facility in Newberry, SC.

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.

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