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.


FAME Is All It’s Cracked Up to Be

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Would you believe that one apprenticeship program could add $45,000 to its graduates’ salaries? It sounds incredible, but that figure is from a new study by Opportunity America and the Brookings Institution. And the program in question is Kentucky FAME, part of the wider FAME program that was originally founded by Toyota before its stewardship was transitioned to The Manufacturing Institute. FAME is now operating in 14 states.

As regular Input readers know, FAME students earn a two-year associate degree while working in their sponsor’s manufacturing facility as an Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT). This new study shows how much the students—and by extension their employers—get out of the deal.

Here are some highlights:

  • The need for apprenticeships: “Today, two-thirds of jobs require some postsecondary education or training—not necessarily a four-year college degree, but some more specialized technical or nontechnical preparation for the world of work.”
  • FAME’s effectiveness: “FAME participants were significantly more likely than non-FAME participants to complete their program of study—roughly 80 percent of FAME students graduated, compared with 29 percent of non-FAME students.”
  • The results: “Five years after completion, FAME graduates were earning nearly $98,000, compared to roughly $52,783 for non-FAME participants—a difference of more than $45,000 a year.”
  • The seal of approval: “Graduates’ reviews of the FAME experience were overwhelmingly positive. A total of 97 percent said they felt that enrolling in FAME was the right decision for them, and all but 3 percent said they would recommend it to a close friend or relative.”

The MI says: MI Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Gardner Carrick said of the study, “The results are amazing and confirm that FAME is a global-best program. We hope manufacturers will join us in expanding FAME to their community and offering people across the country the chance to see similar success.”

Publicity alert: Check out a story about the report in The Wall Street Journal (subscription). Meanwhile, Opportunity America hosted a webinar about the study yesterday, featuring Carrick among other speakers.

. . . and more: The MI and FAME are hosting a “FAME Live!” virtual event tomorrow, Oct. 21. Manufacturers with open skilled maintenance positions are invited to tune in here.


Manufacturing Job Openings Rise, Total Openings Fall

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August saw a reduction in the number of available jobs for the first time in four months, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, Reuters reports. However, manufacturing job openings rose that month, NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray tells us.

Manufacturing: According to Moutray, “Manufacturing job openings in August reached 460,000, up from 430,000 in July and the best reading since July 2019 (477,000). This improvement suggests that firms are once again increasing their interest in adding new workers, even as the sector attempts to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and the overall labor market has changed dramatically.”

Overall economy: The picture for the overall economy isn’t as strong:

  • Job openings fell to 6.49 million—a decrease of 204,000.
  • The job openings rate fell to 4.4% from 4.6% in the prior month.
  • The number of people leaving their jobs voluntarily was 2.79 million in August—down 139,000 from the month before.

About half of the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic have not yet been recovered.

Press Releases

NAM Board Leadership: Manufacturers Will Continue to Lead by Example

Washington, D.C. – The Board leadership of the National Association of Manufacturers is issuing a call to all Americans to observe COVID-19 safety protocols so manufacturers can continue to work to rebuild the economy. Trane Technologies Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair Mike Lamach, Dow Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Vice Chair Jim Fitterling, BTE Technologies President and NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Chair Chuck Wetherington and Protolabs President and CEO and SMM Vice Chair Vicki Holt released the following joint statement:

“As manufacturers for America’s goods and essential products, we have a strong message for our team members and the country. All Americans must do everything in our power to keep our workers, our communities and our fellow citizens safe from COVID-19.

“Our industry will continue manufacturing personal protective equipment, medical supplies and therapeutics, racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine and keeping consumer goods and the food supply plentiful. We have been able to do this throughout the pandemic and keep our workers safe because we follow the science.

“We will continue to set the right example by practicing the guidance outlined by the CDC and other medical experts. That’s why we encourage all Americans to wear a mask, social distance, avoid large gatherings, use contact tracing and quarantine for 14 days if there is direct exposure to the virus, especially when one is tested positive. We are on the front lines of rebuilding our economy, but we cannot do so until we defeat COVID-19, and we cannot defeat COVID-19 if we fail to protect each other.

“COVID-19 has already taken more than 210,000 American lives, and each week that number grows by the thousands. The economic toll has resulted in millions of jobs lost—some permanently. Among those who survive, many will endure lifelong disabilities. It doesn’t have to be this way. We know the science, and we have the tools. We all must follow best practices and look out for each other so we can keep the country open, supply the world and defeat this invisible enemy.”


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


Virtual MFG Day Was a Success

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MFG Day 2020 looked a little different from last year, as the events celebrating modern manufacturing happened online instead of in person. But even amid the pandemic, there was a widespread outpouring of support for manufacturing, including from many policymakers. Here are some highlights, and a look at what’s next.

Bipartisan celebrations: The White House issued a proclamation on Thursday night designating Oct. 2 as National Manufacturing Day, while at least 28 governors and leading members of Congress marked the occasion by proclamation or on social media.

Virtual shop floor tours: Meanwhile, hundreds of manufacturers—in 49 states—invited students to “tour” their facilities via virtual events.

News coverage: MFG Day was also covered by traditional publications. Watch NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons on Yahoo! Finance discussing MFG Day and the need to practice safe social behaviors to combat COVID-19. And read two op-eds by Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee on the importance of MFG Day, in the Indianapolis Star and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Still more to come: Be sure to join us on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 12:00 p.m. EDT for another flagship event (presented by Walmart) on how manufacturers are stepping up in response to COVID-19. You can also find more events throughout October on

And don’t forget to share your own celebrations of manufacturing by using the hashtags #MFGDay20 and #CreatorsWanted on social media.


MFG Day Is Here!

Today is MFG Day 2020—the year’s largest day of action for modern manufacturing. But it doesn’t stop there: MFG Day launches a month full of manufacturing events, as companies and educational institutions show students, parents, teachers and community leaders the great careers that manufacturing has to offer.

A new look: Thanks to the pandemic, the annual tradition of manufacturing open houses has been transformed into a series of mostly virtual events. This year’s MFG Day will be like no other, offering opportunities for more connection and participation across the industry and country without the limitations of physical events and travel. Hundreds of events will be held throughout October.

A full schedule of national, local and regional events can be found at The Manufacturing Institute is also hosting a series of flagship virtual events, including “Creators Wanted: A Program for America’s Students” today at 12:00 p.m. EDT, presented by Salesforce, PTC and Rockwell Automation, and “Creators Wanted: A Program for America’s Teachers” on Monday, Oct. 5, at 12:00 p.m. EDT, presented by PTC. Share these programs with your networks!

A word from the MI: “As we celebrate MFG Day across the country over the next month, we are reminded of the important role that modern manufacturing plays in each of our lives. From the masks and clothes we wear to the food we eat, modern manufacturing is at the heart of our country and, as the pandemic continues, will lead the way to our recovery and renewal,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “This year’s MFG Day, more so than ever before, is a uniquely powerful opportunity to bring awareness to the high-paying, rewarding and meaningful career opportunities in our industry and to open minds to what’s possible with a career in modern manufacturing.”

And . . . Make sure to use the right hashtags to amplify the story of MFG Day: #MFGDay2020 and #CreatorsWanted.


STEP Ahead Awards Showcase Women in Manufacturing

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Last night, The Manufacturing Institute hosted the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards, honoring 130 women in manufacturing for their leadership within the industry and the example they set for other women in manufacturing. Though it was a virtual event, the upbeat spirit of these women, who are helping the industry support America through the pandemic, was fully on display—with a massive crowd tuning in online.

Here are a few key quotes from the speakers:

  • STEP Chair Erika Peterman, BASF senior vice president for chemical intermediates North America, said, “[In the future], women will continue to be key contributors to our economy. . . . Manufacturing in the future may not look like it does today, but it will be around, and there will be opportunities for professional growth for all workers. And lastly, STEP Ahead will continue to provide programs and forums that foster and encourage females to enter the world of manufacturing and pursue their careers.”
  • Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee: “The most famous symbol of manufacturing in America is a woman, Rosie the Riveter. Rosie inspired women to work in America’s arsenal of democracy during WWII. Today, manufacturers have mobilized to fight a new war, against COVID-19. . . . And that wouldn’t be possible without a dedicated, talented, innovative and diverse workforce. And that includes the women we honor here tonight, who will inspire a new generation.”
  • NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons: “I couldn’t wait to raise a glass to all of you tonight. . . . I can’t think of anyone I’d rather toast than the women of manufacturing, because you are the backbone. . . . Our industry will rise to any challenge, so long as talented and driven and heroic women are leading the charge. That’s our past, that’s our present, and there is no doubt that’s our future.”

And there was more . . . The program also featured an appearance by STEP Vice Chair Kathy Wengel (Johnson & Johnson executive vice president and chief global supply chain officer), a cameo from Olympic gold medalist and WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie and a musical performance by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The gala’s hosts were NAM Senior Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy Erin Streeter and PROCEPT BioRobotics Director of Manufacturing Akhila Bhiman, who was also a 2018 STEP Ahead honoree.


MFG Day Gets Celebrity Boost

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The success of MFG Day every year depends on the grassroots efforts of manufacturers and manufacturing-supporting organizations across the country. While COVID-19 has changed many MFG Day plans, it hasn’t changed that core reality. But this year, those efforts will be enhanced by virtual MFG Day events organized by The Manufacturing Institute.

  • First, on Friday, Oct. 2, at 12:00 p.m. EDT, there’s a program for America’s students headlined by The Space Gal, Emily Dawn Calandrelli, host and co-executive producer of Netflix’s Emily’s Wonder Lab and FOX’s Xploration Outer Space. It’s designed to get students excited about opportunities in the manufacturing industry. The program is presented by Salesforce, PTC and Rockwell Automation, and you can find more information here.
  • Second, on Monday, Oct. 5, at 12:00 p.m. EDT, there’s a program to help teachers learn more about what’s possible for their students in a modern manufacturing career. The program is headlined by Allen Gannett, technology entrepreneur and author of “The Creative Curve,” and presented by PTC. You can find more information and register for the event here.

Stay tuned: The MI will be announcing more events in the coming days, including an event for parents—presented by Walmart—highlighting the impact of manufacturers during the pandemic and featuring an interview by legendary broadcaster Elvis Duran.

The strategy: “MFG Day has always been a grassroots movement led by innovative manufacturers. In the face of this year’s challenges, we’re responding by creating opportunities to reach more students, parents and educators,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “We are really excited about our opportunity to extend MFG Day with digital programming into more homes and communities, including underrepresented communities, and improve the perception of modern manufacturing careers more broadly.”

Press Releases

Manufacturers Put Forward Bold Actions to Close Opportunity Gap and Transform Industry Workforce

Task Force of Industry Leaders Identify and Offer Next Steps

Washington, D.C. – Following the industry’s June “Pledge for Action,” the National Association of Manufacturers brought industry leaders together to focus on recommending bold next steps manufacturers can take to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities in America.

The Task Force on Closing the Opportunity Gap has put forth actions that will transform the industry workforce: By 2025, manufacturers commit to taking 50,000 tangible actions to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities, creating 300,000 pathways to job opportunities for Black people and all people of color. In doing so, manufacturing will reflect the diversity of the overall U.S. workforce by 2030.

The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce development and education partner, will collect individual commitments from companies to ensure that the goal of 50,000 actions is met by 2025 and that the industry reaches its diversity goals by 2030. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons affirmed the commitment on behalf of the industry.

Timmons, Trane Technologies Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair Mike Lamach and Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee made the following statements on this landmark initiative.

“Our industry plays an integral role in lifting up people and communities,” said Lamach, “and now we have a special obligation to stand with and support all people who face injustice. We must play a part in tearing down the persistent and pernicious structural barriers to opportunity in this country.”

“I am proud to make this commitment on behalf of the industry and thank Mike and the task force for their leadership. As manufacturers across America redouble our efforts to build more inclusive and equitable workplaces and communities, we will be the catalyst for even greater change,” said Timmons. “We can spark a chain reaction for equity—that makes our businesses more successful, our communities stronger and our nation one that truly guarantees ‘liberty and justice for all.’”

“Not only are manufacturers making a bold promise, but they are also committing to be held accountable,” said Lee. “The Manufacturing Institute will collect individual commitments from companies, support their efforts with key resources and track the industry’s progress in creating these opportunities and pathways over the coming years to ensure we reach our 2030 target.”

Background on the Task Force: On June 11, the NAM’s Executive Committee unanimously approved the 11-point “Pledge for Action to advance justice, equality and opportunity for Black people and all people of color. The Task Force on Closing the Opportunity Gap’s commitment, announced today, follows through on elements of the “Pledge for Action.”

Members of the task force include the following:

  • Task Force Chair: Mike Lamach, chairman and CEO, Trane Technologies and NAM Board chair
  • Dev Ahuja, SVP and CFO, Novelis Inc.
  • Alejandro Alvarez, SVP, chief production officer and sustainability officer, Brown-Forman Corporation
  • Neil Chapman, senior vice president, Exxon Mobil Corporation
  • Julie Copeland, CEO, Arbill
  • Mark Cordova, president, Centennial Bolt, Inc.
  • Chris Edwards, Co-CEO, Edward Marc Brands, Inc.
  • Jim Fitterling, chairman and CEO, Dow Inc. and NAM Board vice chair
  • Vicki Holt, president and CEO, Protolabs and NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Group vice chair
  • Frederick Humphries, corporate VP, U.S. government affairs, Microsoft Corporation
  • Vimal Kapur, president and CEO, Honeywell Building Technologies
  • Lawrence Kurzius, chairman, president and CEO, McCormick & Company, Inc.
  • Mike McDermott, president, Pfizer global supply, Pfizer, Inc.
  • Aneesa Muthana, president and CEO, Pioneer Service Inc.
  • Chris Nielsen, EVP – product support and chief quality officer, Toyota Motor North America
  • Quentin Roach, SVP – global supply chain and chief procurement officer, Mondelez International
  • Kathy Wengel, EVP, chief global supply chain officer, Johnson & Johnson
  • Chris Womack, president, external affairs, Southern Company


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


“The Opportunities May Surprise You”

A STEP Ahead honoree interview

As a kid, Amanda Wade Hodges designed intricate items with her dad for her school’s Machine Day and created complicated Halloween costumes. Today, she credits those early childhood experiences with setting her on the path toward a creative manufacturing career.

Hodges is a process engineer at BASF Corporation’s site in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and has been selected as one of The Manufacturing Institute’s 2020 STEP Ahead Emerging Leaders. Emerging Leaders represent the future of the industry and have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments at the beginning of their careers.

What she’s doing: At BASF, Hodges uses a Lean Six Sigma program to cut waste and deploy funding effectively, while also serving as a leader in the company’s environmental impact, health and safety initiatives. These skills enabled her to support the company’s COVID-19 response efforts.

  • Since March, Hodges has helped BASF make changes to its operations and facilities, which included the implementation of precautionary measures like health screenings and mandatory mask wearing. To reduce the risk of exposure, BASF employees are asked to practice the same safety precautions at home and in the community as they do at BASF facilities.
  • In early July, BASF launched its internal “Pledge to Protect” campaign to encourage employees to share why they wear face coverings, practice social distancing and clean and disinfect. “Our priority remains the health and safety of our employees, contractors and communities,” says Hodges.

A manufacturing advocate: Hodges is committed to helping kids get the same early exposure to STEM and manufacturing that she did.

  • She participates in local STEM Days in the Chattanooga community, where she encourages kids to pursue careers in industries like manufacturing.
  • She also works with BASF’s Kids’ Lab at a local elementary school during National Chemistry Week.
  • And last, she volunteers at her alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, in order to connect with young people who are interested in the field. “Every day comes with new challenges and opens doors to be innovative,” she says.

A word of advice: “My advice to young women considering manufacturing is to just give it a try,” says Hodges. “Jobs in manufacturing are very diverse in the requirements and skills needed. Manufacturing utilizes a variety of skillsets, from conceiving an idea to completing the product to shipping it to the customer. I would encourage women to investigate the different opportunities, because they may surprise you.”

The 2020 STEP Ahead Awards will be held virtually on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, 6:00–7:00 p.m. EDT. To register to watch, please click here.


Growing Up on the Factory Floor: An Interview with a STEP Honoree

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Kayleigh Hogan remembers building piggy banks out of pump parts during “Bring Your Child to Work Day.” Those visits to manufacturing facilities proved to be formative: the daughter of not one, but two STEM professionals in manufacturing, Hogan is now a mechanical asset engineer at Covestro LLC and one of the honorees of the Manufacturing Institute’s 2020 STEP Awards.

“I remember seeing pumps being machined and painted on massive assembly lines,” says Hogan. “At the time, I didn’t realize that this wasn’t quite the stereotypical workplace setting, but I liked that my parents’ work had such tangible results.”

What she does: Today, Hogan manages a $14-million maintenance budget and leads vital capital projects for Covestro’s environmental control, utilities and infrastructure unit. Covestro’s core product lines include raw materials for health-care products such as specialty films for face shields and thermoplastic polyurethane for face masks, which means the company was well placed to respond to COVID-19. Covestro also produces personal protective equipment such as “ear savers” for masks and materials used in drug delivery devices, ventilators and oxygen concentrators.

The award: Hogan is one of the 130 recipients of the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards. These awards honor women who excel in manufacturing careers and act as role models to current and future women workers in the industry. For Hogan, the STEP Ahead Award confirmed that she’s making a difference in her workplace and community. She is honored to be in the company of so many other extraordinary women leading the manufacturing industry.

“It is a truly a humbling experience to see the company I’m in as a STEP honoree,” says Hogan. “The STEP Ahead alumnae community of phenomenal women is amazing, and I’m so excited to meet them in person someday. Receiving this honor also makes me realize how many other remarkable women I know that work in manufacturing who deserve recognition for all that they do.”

Words of advice for other women: “Come join us!” says Hogan. “New ideas are always needed, and fresh new faces are some of the best catalysts for change. Without diverse people and new ideas around the table, there is little hope to meet the ever-changing demands of manufacturing. Never underestimate what your ideas can bring about; your idea may just be the one thing the conversation needed to really get off the ground.”

The 2020 STEP Ahead Awards will be held virtually on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, 6:00–7:00 p.m. EDT. To register to watch, please click here.

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