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 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

-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

News

“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.

Workforce

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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.”

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