Taking the Guesswork Out of Hiring

As I travel the country, I hear from manufacturers the challenge they face in attracting and retaining talent. For many manufacturers, the skills gap is very real. It means passing up a major order because the skilled talent just isn’t there. The Manufacturing Institute’s own skills gap data, published with Deloitte, documents that over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely will need to be filled. The skills gap, however, is expected to leave 2 million of those jobs unfilled.

For decades, manufacturers have relied on strategies that include referrals and leveraging staffing agencies. To remain competitive, manufacturers must do more. They must deploy new strategies to attract, retain and grow the manufacturing workforce.

Industry-based certifications play an important role. Manufacturers run and operate facilities according to standards that create predictable, trackable and reliable outcomes. Yet, unlike other industries, such as IT or health care, manufacturing has not fully leveraged the power of standards and certifications in recruiting talent. Industry certifications validate what a prospective candidate knows and what he or she is able to do, eliminating the guesswork from hiring and promotions, reducing costs and minimizing risks.

Small and large companies alike are increasingly leveraging certifications and the standards on which they are built. Companies like Bison Gear & Engineering and Sun Hydraulics Corporation have seen results that have enhanced their bottom lines. Caterpillar is leveraging the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) standards and encouraging suppliers to use them as well.

In June, the MSSC released CPT standards updated by manufacturers to reflect the most recent changes to basic skills that entry-level workers need to enter into, and advance in, manufacturing careers.

As manufacturers consider their hiring strategies, we encourage them to consider the use of industry certifications. The clearer we are on what it takes to join the manufacturing workforce, the better positioned we are to find the talent we need to succeed.

To learn more about certifications, visit our employer resource page or contact The Manufacturing Institute at Institute@nam.org.

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ISM: Manufacturing Sentiment Edged Lower, but Domestic Sales and Output Growth Ticked Higher

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) edged somewhat lower in July, bucking expectations for a slight gain. The headline PMI decreased from 53.5 in June to 52.7 in July. Yet, even with reduced sentiment for the month, the index averaged 53.0 over the past three months (May through July), up from 52.0 over the prior three months (February through April). While manufacturing activity has been weaker than what we saw at the end of last year – with the index averaging 56.9 in the fourth quarter of 2014 – these data continue to reflect a slight rebound in demand and output after softness earlier in the year. Along those lines, growth in both new orders (up from 56.0 to 56.5) and production (up from 54.0 to 56.) ticked higher in July, expanding at a decent but still less-than-desired pace. (continue reading…)

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Guarding Your First Amendment Freedoms

Freedom of association is one of the bedrock American freedoms written into our Constitution in the First Amendment.  As a business trade association proudly advocating on behalf of the manufacturing community, this freedom is foundational to our existence.  Not only does association membership allow our individual members to be more effective through collective action, but the NAM umbrella helps to protect our members from retribution for taking positions that are essential to the economic health and vitality of manufacturers, but might be unpopular with political opponents.

A landmark U.S. Supreme Court case from 1958, NAACP v. Alabama, formally recognized and reinforced freedom of association as a right, and further held that an essential element of this right was the freedom to do so without public disclosure of association membership.  The case concerned the state of Alabama’s efforts to oust the NAACP from the state through strong-arm intimidation tactics, including seeking disclosure of the NAACP’s membership list.  The Supreme Court held that requiring disclosure of its member list violated NAACP’s 14th amendment due process rights and that requiring disclosure of its member lists would suppress the members’ rights to freely associate. (continue reading…)

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TPP Must Ensure Cross-Border Data Flows and Reject Localization Requirements

As highlighted in the National Association of Manufacturers’ new Trans-Pacific Partnership Priorities report, the final TPP agreement should ensure that cross-border data flows are permitted across all 12 TPP countries, without restriction or local storage/processing requirements for all types of providers, while ensuring IP rights are protected. A final deal should also prohibit foreign localization requirements that would require the use of local information infrastructure as a condition to conduct or expand business operations. Why is this issue so important to manufacturers? (continue reading…)

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How Protecting Property and Innovation with Fair Processes and Strong Standards in the TPP Are Vital to Improve Competitiveness and Promote Prosperity

America was built on hard work, respect for private property and the rule of law. With basic due process, equal protection and property protections core to the U.S. Constitution and laws such as the Administrative Procedure Act and laws protecting innovation and intellectual property, America has forged the most innovative and resilient manufacturing sector in the world. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturers One Step Closer to CTU Fix

By an overwhelming vote of 58-0, the House Committee on Financial Services approved a bill (H.R. 1317) on July 29 to further protect manufacturers from unnecessary regulatory costs when using derivatives to manage risk.   (continue reading…)

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Partnership is Critical for Sensible IoT Strategy

The Internet of Things (IoT), the network of connectivity between all objects, continues to transform every aspect of the manufacturing enterprise.  Manufacturers are increasingly using IoT to help increase operational efficiency and innovation. Yesterday the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual and the Internet held a hearing  on IoT and the NAM seized the opportunity to submit comments for the official record.  (continue reading…)

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NAM Supports Legislation to Defend Trade Secrets

The NAM has been an advocate for policy solutions that will assist manufacturers in pursuing trade secret thieves and therefore strongly supports legislation introduced late yesterday in both the House and Senate that will increase the efficiency in how our industry defends and protects its intellectual property.

(continue reading…)

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Ambitious TPP Market Access Package Critical for Manufacturers in the United States

U.S. exports of manufactured goods have helped grow U.S.-based manufacturing and support millions of good-paying jobs. At the same time, manufacturers face significant tariff, non-tariff barriers and other unfair trade practices in many Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) markets. An ambitious TPP agreement must level the playing field for manufacturers in the U.S. by eliminating these barriers, which will be critical to growing manufacturing in this country. (continue reading…)

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NAM Hosts Shopfloor Event on Heels of Senate Ex-Im Vote

Today the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) hosted a Shopfloor briefing for congressional staff about the need to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, a critical tool for U.S. exporters. The briefing comes after a late-night vote in the U.S. Senate on an amendment to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank through FY2019, which was attached to a highway funding bill. Now that the Senate has passed an Ex-Im reauthorization with broad support, all eyes turn to the House of Representatives to do the same.

Shopfloor Ex Im

U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) addresses the importance of Ex-Im reauthorization during a Shopfloor briefing on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning.

U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-NY), who spent 36 years as a small business owner, gave remarks that emphasized the importance of the Ex-Im Bank to U.S. small businesses. Rep. Collins knows firsthand the value of exports to small businesses and their employees.

Despite bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for Ex-Im reauthorization, Congress allowed the Ex-Im Bank’s charter to lapse on June 30 for the first time in its history. As a result, companies like International Green Structures (IGS) are unable to move forward with new projects. IGS is a small manufacturer of environmentally sustainable materials used to make a variety of structures including affordable houses for low income populations in developing countries. David Kralik, a member of IGS’s finance team, said during today’s Shopfloor event that his company is in a “holding pattern” until the Bank is reauthorized because it needs Ex-Im Bank support for a contract in Nigeria. Learn more about IGS’s Ex-Im story by clicking here.

Trade policy experts also participating on today’s panel included Matthew Ekberg, Vice President of International Policy for the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade; Howard Schweitzer, Managing Partner at Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies; and Georgette P. Sierra, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable. These panelists provided insight into the public-private partnership between private-sector lenders and the Ex-Im Bank, the growing role of foreign export credit agencies (ECAs) and the important role that the Ex-Im Bank plays in mitigating risk for exporters and lenders. If Congress fails to reauthorize the Bank before it begins the August recess, U.S. businesses and the jobs they create will continue to be at a competitive disadvantage.

Right now, more than 60 foreign export credit agencies ECAs across the globe help support their respective domestic industries. The nine largest ECAs of our allies and competitors–Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United Kingdom–provide nearly half a trillion dollars in annual export support, putting manufacturers in the United States at a deep disadvantage in competing for sales overseas. As our foreign competitors continue to expand into new markets and grow jobs in their own economies, Congress has forced U.S. manufacturers to forfeit opportunities and sit on the sidelines.

The Ex-Im Bank is a critical export tool for U.S. manufacturers and helps businesses of all sizes compete in the global marketplace. Learn more about the impact the Ex-Im Bank has on manufacturers of all sizes by clicking here.

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