Workforce

Manufacturers do the jobs of the future. That’s why we train our employees to take on new challenges and why we need motivated, exceptional workers to start careers in modern manufacturing. To advance that goal industry-wide, we support innovative policy and on-the-ground programs to attract, train and retain the next generation workforce.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Survey Finds Broad Usage of PPP, Main Street Lending Programs

As Challenges Remain, Optimism Begins to Rebound

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers has released its third quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which shows strong use of liquidity programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and Main Street Lending Program.

Of the 82.7% of respondents who say COVID-19 had or will have a negative impact on their cash flow, 72.1% noted they had obtained funds through the Paycheck Protection Program, Main Street Lending Program or other liquidity programs—especially small manufacturers. More importantly, of those firms taking advantage of such programs, 91.6% reported that those funds helped keep their business afloat, retain their workforce or meet other necessary expenses. Knowing how critical this was for the industry, the NAM called for these programs and subsequent expansions in its “COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations” and “American Renewal Action Plan.”

Manufacturing optimism has also rebounded to 66% since the second quarter of 2020, when it had the worst reading since the Great Recession. Still, the outlook remains below the historical average of 74.4%, and 62% of manufacturers expect their firm’s revenues will not get back to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2021 or later.

“Congress and the administration have acted on more than five dozen of the policy provisions that the NAM made in our ‘American Renewal Action Plan’ and other recommendations,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Without the bipartisan relief legislation signed into law earlier this year, this rise in optimism would not have been possible. But for our industry to truly recover and to keep our economy growing, further bipartisan congressional action is needed.”

Read the full survey results here.

Background: In March, the NAM released its “COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations,” which guided earlier relief legislation. In April, the NAM released its “American Renewal Action Plan,” and Congress and the administration have acted on many of its provisions. To date, 60 provisions from the NAM’s plans have been adopted.

-NAM-

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 12.1 million men and women, contributes $2.36 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.

Workforce

How to Participate Virtually in MFG Day 2020

Get the Latest News

Sign up here

Manufacturing Day, and the month-long celebration of the industry it kicks off, will be very different this year now that we can’t tour factories, technical schools and more in person. But manufacturers can still do their part to show parents, teachers and students what careers in today’s advanced manufacturing really look like—via virtual programming.

In advance of this year’s MFG Day, Oct. 2, The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers—held a webinar to help manufacturers plan virtual events. Below is a quick recap.

What should manufacturers do? Don’t worry, many MFG Day hosts are still figuring this out. First, you can reach out to local associations and regional groups to see if there is an existing event that you can co-host or participate in. Second, you can consider partnering with other manufacturers in your area or industry to produce a virtual event.

If you choose to host your own virtual MFG Day event, here are a few suggestions that will make it a hit, courtesy of Manufacturing Institute Senior Director of Youth Engagement Julia Asoni and NAM Assistant Vice President of Advocacy Michael O’Brien:

  • Provide a welcome message from senior leadership.
  • Offer an overview of the importance of manufacturing to the economy in your community.
  • Lay out what your company does and give participants a sense of its career offerings.
  • Film a video tour of your facility to show viewers the technology and tools you use every day.
  • Record interviews with employees or a conversation with a panel to allow young people to hear directly from the people who work at your business.
  • Create a survey to track how the event changes your audience’s perceptions of manufacturing—for example, asking participants about their interest in a manufacturing career both before and after your presentation.

Examples from the field: During the webinar, a range of manufacturers and partners presented their plans for MFG Day:

  • Allegion will feature a full virtual experience planned through Microsoft Teams. It will provide a mixture of live and pre-recorded content, and will localize every event to ensure it’s most relevant to local students, said Allegion Reputation Management Leader Whitney Moorman.
  • Boeing collaborated with external partners like high schools, colleges and community organizations to create an effective virtual program, said Boeing Senior Workforce Specialist Justin McCaffree. Its event will include videos of employees explaining their jobs and performing specific tasks, virtual tours of the company’s facilities, and videos from manufacturing interns and students. It will also offer students the opportunity to do virtual informational interviews with Boeing employees.
  • Graco is postponing its regular MFG Day programming to spring 2021 in hopes of providing an in-person experience that will involve hands-on learning—including stations that allow participants to control robots, build keychains with lasers and learn about quality control, said Graco Corporate Communications Team Leader Charlotte Boyd. It may also attempt to do virtual events this year that could include sending kits to students and information to parents.
  • ABB is working with Edge Factor, which develops content for educators, to create a five-day virtual program that showcases science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, according to ABB Vice President for Marketing Communications Tracy Long. This will include on-demand content about each of those five disciplines as well as about “soft skills” like teamwork.
  • NWIRC developed a monthlong program geared toward 6th–12th grade students in northwest Pennsylvania. It includes a digital activity packet and the opportunity to win prizes from NWIRC for worksheets and articles, said NWIRC Marketing Communications Specialist Laurie Knoll.
  • Click Bond is in the early stages of developing content for a virtual experience. It is planning an interactive website that includes career testimonials, virtual maps and how-to videos about machines and technology, according to Click Bond Corporate Communications Manager Danielle Costella.

You can see a recording of the webinar here.

Workforce

FAME Gets Some Fame

Get the Latest News

Sign up here

Fittingly, The Manufacturing Institute’s FAME program has its name in the papers. This week, The Washington Monthly highlights this career-focused initiative that gives people the tools they need to succeed in the manufacturing sector.

How it works: The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education—founded by Toyota and now overseen by The Manufacturing Institute—is the nation’s premier manufacturing education program for training students seeking careers in manufacturing and upskilling incumbents and veterans.

FAME students earn a two-year associate’s degree while working in their sponsor’s manufacturing facility as advanced manufacturing technicians.

Core concepts: The program doesn’t just teach manufacturing-specific skills, it also helps students learn and apply behaviors that will help them make progress in any industry, including:

  • Safety culture
  • Professional behaviors
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Visual workplace organization

The results: “First launched at a single Toyota factory in 2010, it has already grown to involve more than 350 manufacturers in 13 states, from large refrigerator makers to smaller plastics plants. Of the roughly 850 students who have graduated so far, 85 percent have been hired by their sponsoring employers with starting salaries at $50,000 or more.”

The grads: FAME’s graduates have nothing but praise for the program, crediting it with starting them on an excellent career path. Check out our recent profiles of graduates Brittanee Sayer and Chaise Blissett.

Workforce

A “Once in a Lifetime” Opportunity: A Conversation with a FAME Grad

Get the Latest News

Sign up here

As an engineering student at the University of Louisville, Chaise Blissett didn’t like the idea of a career where he would be sitting at a desk all day. He’s always been a hands-on learner and grew up working on trucks and tinkering with small engines. When a friend told him about his experience in the Federation for Advance Manufacturing Education (FAME) AMT program, Blissett knew it was the right program for him.

What is AMT? The Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) training program was developed by Toyota and is now overseen nationally by The Manufacturing Institute. It is a FAME maintenance training program and trains students of all ages and backgrounds, from recent high school graduates to experienced manufacturing employees looking to advance their careers. Students earn a two-year associate degree while working in their sponsor’s manufacturing facility as an Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT).

What FAME AMT offers: Blissett showed up “eager and ready to learn,” and he’s thankful for all the support he received in the program—from his employer, from his teammates and from his mentors. Beyond the network he built, program highlights included:

  • On-the-job training: FAME AMT blends classroom studies with work experience. For a hands-on learner like Blissett, the FAME AMT program was a more effective learning environment than school alone would have been.
  • A technical degree: The associate degree and FAME certificate that Blisset earned set him apart from other job applicants and accelerated his career path.
  • Professional competencies: Beyond the technical skills, FAME AMT also teaches students the soft skills they need for working in a professional environment — the kinds of things “you don’t learn in college,” Blissett said. Students dress professionally for class and give regular presentations at both work and school. They also get regular practice working in teams, learning how to “work with all kinds of people in all kinds of different circumstances.”

What now: Blissett accepted a full-time technician role at Nucor Tubular Products, a manufacturer of carbon steel piping and tubing in Louisville, Kentucky. As he says, his journey has just begun—and he’s excited to see where the knowledge and skills he has acquired will take him.

Advice for FAME students: “The FAME program is what you make of it,” Blissett says.

  • “Be driven, show eagerness to learn, and do your work to the best of your abilities. If you do these three things you will receive endless support in your goals.”
  • “Be appreciative and show that you are hungry. Your mentors and professors are investing their time to mold you into the best possible student they can.”

The last word: “The opportunities presented to me during this program were once in a lifetime,” said Blissett. “I do not think I could have found a better fit for me.”

Workforce

Upskilling and Recruiting Veterans for Manufacturing Careers

Get the Latest News

Sign up here

What can manufacturers do to attract and retain talented veterans? Samsung, the founding sponsor of The Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America initiative, hosted a webinar to answer that questionwith industry leaders, government officials and veterans themselves all weighing in.  

The background: More than 200,000 men and women transition out of the military each year, and The Manufacturing Institute has estimated that manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs by 2028. With their technical skillsability to lead and follow under pressure and experience working in teamsveterans bring exceptional value to the manufacturing industryeven more so during these challenging times. 

The lineup: Titled “Veteran Reskilling in Today’s Economy,” the virtual event featured the following speakers 

  • Samsung Vice President of Strategic Communications Megan Pollock 
  • Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee 
  • Assistant Secretary John Lowry, Colonel, USMC (Ret.), Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service   
  • Manufacturing Institute Vice President of Military and Veterans Programs Babs Chase 
  • Koch Industries Outreach Strategies Manager John Buckley 
  • SherwinWilliams Production Supervisor George Clay 
  • SHRM Director of Veterans and Certifications Affairs Andrew Morton

Industry: Pollock and Lee discussed the work that Samsung and the Institute have done to connect veterans with new careers through Heroes MAKE Americawhich offers training programs at several U.S. military basesHere are some key quotes:   

  • Pollock: “Service men and women have an incredible skill set that’s really specifically designed for the advanced manufacturing field. Hiring managers don’t always understand that, and oftentimes, veterans are not set up for success as they move into the manufacturing field, even though they’ve got all the skills they need. So…it’s not about reskilling; it’s about an understanding of the great skill set veterans have and how we can utilize them.”  
  • Lee: “We are training people in multiple branches, in multiple locations, with multiple skill sets, and helping the broader military community transition into the sector.” 

Government: Secretary Lowry, whose office helps support job counseling, placement and training services for eligible veterans, spoke about the value of the Heroes program, saying: 

  • “I’ve been incredibly impressed with the outcomes of the program—95% graduation rate, 8590% placement rate, and 25% placed in supervisory roles, which I think suggests some of the leadership traits people pick up in the military can be applied well in a manufacturing setting.”

Veterans: Chase moderated a panel of veterans—Buckley, Clay and Morton—who spoke about the Heroes program, the advantages of veterans in the workforce and the importance of engagement efforts. Here is some of what they had to say:  

  • Buckley: “The Heroes MAKE America program is very comprehensive, and it really does a great job of preparing our veterans.”  
  • Clay: When we start looking at what veterans are bringing to organizations, it’s a lot more than the common soft skills that you look at.” 
  • Morton: “Talent mobility is probably more important than acquisition and probably more important than workforce development, because that truly allows the employee to grow and to stay with the organization.” 

 Check out a recording of the event here 

Workforce

The STEP Ahead Awards Winners Show Their Excellence

Get the Latest News

sign up here

With nominations now open for the 2021 STEP Ahead Awards, it’s a perfect time to revisit the impressive stories about STEP winners that we’ve covered this year. 

A brief recap: The Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Awards are designed to honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) careersThe awards are part of the STEP Women’s Initiative, which aims to shrink the gender gap in manufacturing, build women’s leadership skills and elevate extraordinary women to serve as role models for current manufacturers and the workforce of the future.  

The nominations process: If you have a peer or colleague who deserves recognition for her leadership, you can submit a nomination any time before October 2. Check out this handy nominations guide for more information.    

Since the awards began in 2012, The Manufacturing Institute has honored more than 1,000 extraordinary women across the manufacturing industry. Here some of their stories:  

  • Behlen General Manager for Customer Fabrication Heather Macholan (a 2013 STEP honoree) is working with school labs to 3-D print protective gear. 
  • AAON Community Relations Administrator Stephanie Cameron (a 2015 STEP honoree) is working with her company to clean medical facilities’ air during COVID-19. 
  • LAMATEK Vice President Laura Basara (a 2017 STEP Ahead honoree) has helped her company provide millions of pieces of foam for face shields. 
  • Galley Support Innovations CEO Gina Radke (a 2019 STEP Ahead honoree) wrote a book to inspire other women to get involved in manufacturing leadership. 
  • ID4A Technologies CEO and Founder Rania Hoteit (a 2020 STEP Ahead Awards honoree) is supporting the manufacturing and distribution of critical medical devices and health care products. 
  • Adafruit Founder and Owner (and 2019 STEP Ahead honoree) Limor Fried is making electronic components for essential medical machines. 
News

Masks Equal Money: The NAM Asks Americans to Wear Face Coverings in Public

Get the Latest News

Sign up here

Wearing a face covering in public spaces isn’t just about protecting other people—it’s also about protecting America’s reopening, jobs and manufacturing industry.

That’s the message of the NAM’s recent series of public service videos calling for the widespread use of face coverings in public—something manufacturers have been encouraging for months.

On social media, the videos have reached more than 1.4 million people and have been amplified by high-profile figures, including the U.S. surgeon general, U.S. senators and members of the media.

NAM leads the way: NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons was among the first in the business community to call for social distancing and promote the use of face coverings as essential to reopening the U.S. economy.

  • “The one thing that we know right now that you shouldn’t be doing is you shouldn’t be coming in contact with other human beings, outside of your immediate family, your nuclear family. That’s it. That’s all the people are asking,” Timmons said to The New York Times in April.
  • “It’s really that simple. If you want to be a patriotic American, put on a face covering,” Timmons said on Fox Business in May, putting on a face covering himself.

Innovation amid crisis: “Our members are innovating at a rapid pace to meet the needs posed by the pandemic, and our team is responding in kind by addressing one of the most critical challenges we face in keeping our workers safe and the industry and country open,” said Erin Streeter, senior vice president of communications and brand strategy at the NAM. “We’re doubling down on creativity to see us through this crisis, so you’re seeing new tactics like deploying social media influencers to help, illustrations and designs to break through and a total guerrilla-style campaign that leverages all of our communications assets—NAM leadership, owned media, earned media and social media—to get the job done.”

#MasksEqualMoney: This week, the NAM unveiled a series of illustrations on Instagram that show how essential masks are to keeping the American economy open and protecting frontline workers.

TikTok stars join in: To reach young people, social media stars Granny Coy Bundy and Grandpa Charles Mallet lent their platforms to the NAM.

Ripple effect: “We didn’t just dip our toes into this challenge; we dove in given the urgency of the public health and economic crisis,” said Streeter. “We’ve relied on the strength of our creativity to press this forward—and we’re seeing our member companies, partner associations and other business and public health entities helping to amplify our messages. We’re also seeing others follow our lead to collectively create a force multiplier effect that is making a difference.”

Press Releases

NAM Files Suit Against Administration’s “Unlawful Restrictions” to Visas

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers was joined today by several prominent business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, TechNet and Intrax, in filing a lawsuit in federal court opposing President Donald Trump’s proclamation suspending new nonimmigrant visas.

“These overreaching, unlawful restrictions don’t just limit visas—they will restrain our economic recovery at a time when the very future of our country hangs in the balance. Manufacturers and program sponsors are going to court because these restrictions are far outside the bounds of the law and would deal a severe blow to our industry. We cannot let this stand,” said NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly. “Our industry should be laser-focused on leading our recovery and renewal, but these visa restrictions will hand other countries a competitive advantage because they will drive talented individuals away from the United States. These restrictions could harm every corner of our economy, as evidenced by the broad coalition that has come together to oppose them.”

“Our lawsuit seeks to overturn these sweeping and unlawful immigration restrictions that are an unequivocal ‘not welcome’ sign to the engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other critical workers who help drive the American economy,” said U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “Left in place, these restrictions will push investment abroad, inhibit economic growth and reduce job creation.”

“Innovation is absolutely key to surviving the economic crisis currently facing our nation, especially for retailers who’ve seen their stores forced to close and scrambled to find new ways to sell and deliver products,” said National Retail Federation Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Stephanie Martz. “This proclamation is meant to protect American jobs but instead it threatens the millions of rank-and-file workers whose jobs rely on experts coming up with the latest technology to keep retail moving forward. Advanced computer and IT jobs are already hard to fill, and retailers need to be able to bring in talent from wherever they can find it. This sweeping measure could have a significant negative impact on their ability to do that.”

“TechNet is proud to join the NAM, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NRF and Intrax in standing up for American companies’ ability to serve our nation during a global pandemic. TechNet spoke out when the administration announced its visa restrictions, and today, we reiterate that banning categories of innovators only hinders tech’s ability to serve our country by providing essential groceries and food delivery, collaborating with co-workers, having safe medical visits using telehealth solutions and helping millions stay connected. This litigation is a necessary step toward maintaining our nation’s ability to compete in the global economy and provide Americans the help they need during this uncertain time and in the future,” said TechNet President and CEO Linda Moore.

“The Exchange Visitor Program enhances U.S. national security by building mutual understanding that helps us address critical international issues, while strengthening the U.S. economy. J-1 cultural exchange programs contribute more than $1.4 billion to the American economy each year. One out of three World Leaders has participated on a Cultural Exchange Program in the U.S. These overreaching restrictions will sharply curtail cultural exchange programs at just the time when we should be increasing connections between people around the world,” said Intrax President Marcie Schneider.

Read the NAM’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform, “A Way Forward.” To learn more about the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, click here.

-NAM-

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 11.7 million men and women, contributes $2.37 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.

Workforce

“I Will Always Be Able to Find a Job”: An Interview with a FAME Grad

Get the Latest News

Sign up here

Mollie Foerster wanted to become a librarian, but she faced a problem that many high school students do. The degree would be costly, and a librarian’s salary wouldn’t make up for it. Luckily, she found a great alternative: a manufacturing career, made possible by the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME), a cooperative learning program founded by Toyota and overseen by The Manufacturing Institute.

Today, Foerster says proudly, “With my degree, along with my onsite experience, I will always be able to find a job.”

Finding FAME: At her parents’ encouragement, Foerster enrolled in the Southern Indiana FAME chapter after high school. The program trains students of all ages and backgrounds, from recent high school graduates to experienced manufacturing employees looking to advance their careers. FAME students earn a two-year Associate’s Degree while working in their sponsor’s manufacturing facility as an Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT). This was exactly what Foerster was looking for.

The benefits: Foerster’s favorite thing about the FAME AMT model was “the integration of school and work.” Working at a Toyota manufacturing plant part-time while also attending school prepared her well for the workforce, she says—much better than school alone would have. Some of the benefits included:

  • Mentoring opportunities that paired her with experienced leaders who encouraged her to solve challenging problems and offered help when needed—“They allowed me to learn from my mistakes without actually making mistakes”;
  • Fabrication instruction, which helped her improve her skills in a marketable area where she previously had no experience;
  • Public speaking practice, which has made her “a better and more confident” presenter—something she’s sure will be helpful every day in her new career.

What’s next? Having graduated from the FAME program, Foerster plans to begin work full-time at Toyota. She also expects to start her bachelor’s degree online through Purdue’s partnership with Vincennes University.

Advice for future FAME students: “Try and absorb as much as you can in the next two years,” says Foerster. “Don’t just memorize the information you need to know for tests, do your best to actually understand everything you’re being taught. At work, take on as many projects as they will give you. Ask your mentor and other team members for help. As long as you work hard and continuously try to improve yourself, you will achieve great things.”

Workforce

“Manufacturing Is an Obvious Choice” for a Veteran

Get the Latest News

Sign up here

Dan Mitchell didn’t expect to join the Army, which means he couldn’t have expected to translate his military experience into a career in manufacturing. But thanks to The Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America program, that’s where he is now.

The son of Fish and Wildlife Service officials, Mitchell set his heart on the Army while a Boy Scout in high school. As he describes it, he entered West Point as “a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 17-year-old”—and faced a wake-up call. It wasn’t at all like the movies!

Instead, Mitchell learned that Army life involved doing a great number of small, important things effectively. He spent time in maintenance at industrial facilities, managing safety and operations, and tracking armored units and heavy vehicles. Whether he was keeping his room clean or doing inspections or ensuring the safety of weaponry, he learned that routines were vital. It was a lesson that would serve him well in his next career.

Heroes MAKE America: After eight years in the Army, Mitchell heard about the Heroes MAKE America program from some of the 145 soldiers under his command, and he quickly signed up.

  • While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented his Heroes class from touring facilities—“I was excited for the Frito-Lay tour,” he says, “and that’ll stick in my craw for my entire life”—he calls his experience in the program “phenomenal.”
  • From general career support, such as help with building a LinkedIn profile and drafting a resume, to the “invaluable” Certified Production Technician course, Mitchell saw Heroes MAKE America as a vital program that offered him critical tools.
  • “It was eye-opening to see the level of skilled labor and craftmanship that’s involved in modern American manufacturing,” Mitchell says. “It spoke to me. I had no idea of the width and breadth of opportunities, or how interesting and dynamic and challenging the jobs are.”

A new job: As he begins his new role as a production supervisor at Daikin Applied Americas in Minnesota, Mitchell sees manufacturing as a natural fit. “What I did in the Army doesn’t directly translate to what I’m doing now, but it’s pretty darn close,” he says. “I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’d be way behind if I hadn’t gotten the Heroes training.”

Words of advice: “For anyone who has been a leader in the Army—as long as you’re willing to learn and put in the work—manufacturing is an obvious choice.”

View More