The manufacturing skills gap workforce crisis is something that requires all of our efforts to solve.
Last week, I joined President Donald Trump and many of our nation’s workforce leaders as he signed an executive order on a new national workforce strategy. That’s something the National Association of Manufacturers had been urging our country to undertake, particularly the emphasis on apprenticeships and training, to prepare more Americans for the technology-intensive modern manufacturing jobs, some 441,000 of which are currently unfilled. It is a bold, smart and necessary action, at a critical time. And again today, President Trump is continuing the drumbeat at an event in Iowa, speaking with manufacturers and placing a needed spotlight on workforce development.
Think about this: If we don’t change minds about manufacturing and upskill our nation’s workforce, we’re looking at an employee shortage that, according to The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, could be as high as 2 million by 2025.
So today, the urgency to act and do it right took center stage before a Senate committee addressing apprenticeships and future workforce needs, as Glenn Johnson, workforce development leader at BASF Corporation, provided not only his company’s but his own personal perspective.
In the United States, BASF has more than 15,000 employees across 148 locations, of which 74 are production sites and 18 are research and development facilities. BASF is a leader in building the workforce of the future and encouraging STEM careers. Since 2010, more than 410,000 schoolchildren have participated in BASF’s science education programs. And the company is moving aggressively with “Sequence Apprenticeships” and enterprise-wide programs to support future workers.
As Johnson told the committee, he was living in a trailer park with only a high school diploma 22 years ago, when he started his first manufacturing job. He ran assembly lines and stacked cases of product, eventually progressing to leadership roles and taking advantage of a tuition reimbursement program and training and education to climb up the professional ladder. His is a story of how manufacturing and training can change lives for the better.
And his testimony offers a message of how we can do more of that for more Americans. Click here to read the full text of Johnson’s testimony.
President Trump called on the business community to join his effort—to upskill America. Fortunately, our country has manufacturers like BASF already stepping up to help lead, and organizations like The Manufacturing Institute are dedicated to helping manufacturers attract, train and retain the future workforce.
“Women represent only 29 percent of the manufacturers – which is well below the number of women in the overall workforce.”
Now that October—also known as Manufacturing Month in many areas—has come and gone, we want to highlight some of the extraordinary efforts that manufacturers displayed under the MFG Day banner.
First up is the whopping 153 events BASF hosted across the nation throughout the year, engaging an estimated 15,301 people! That’s amazing. We applaud BASF for its ongoing work in promoting the manufacturing industry and encouraging participation from all over the country.
Northrop Grumman hosted an incredible 82 events, celebrating with governors, senators and STEM students. The Maryland site held its annual Manufacturing Wars competition, which challenges students to build a model of an Apache helicopter—that’s an experience those kids will never forget.
Throughout October, Caterpillar facilities across the United States celebrated Manufacturing Day, hosting 11 total events. From team-building exercises to hosting tours for high school students, Caterpillar went above and beyond to make this year’s Manufacturing Day a huge success. Check out Caterpillar employees’ 2017 selfies, describing why manufacturing matters!
PPG and the PPG Foundation marked Manufacturing Day with more than $90,000 in grants going to support STEM programs across the United States. The company also hosted 11 events that included plant tours, manufacturing demonstrations, panel discussions and more!
And continuing to contribute to these impressive efforts, Allegion hosted eight events impacting approximately 600 students, teachers, government officials and community leaders. Allegion showed off its outstanding day-to-day operations, and its employees are always eager to participate on the panels, give the tours and show off to the community what they make and the pride in their work.
These are just a few of the thousands that celebrated Manufacturing Day to inspire next-generation manufacturing workers. Check out the top-five states that hosted the most Manufacturing Day events this year:
- Michigan: 299 events
- Ohio: 257 events
- California: 241 events
- Pennsylvania: 192 events
- Iowa: 181 events
Manufacturing Day is all about recognizing the amazing work that manufacturers do every day. By working together during and after MFG Day, manufacturers can connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the industry. Thank you to all manufacturers, educators and community organizations working to improve the image of manufacturing and engage students in the industry. We could not have accomplished this success without you!
Earlier this month, the National Association of Manufacturers, The Manufacturing Institute and Arconic Foundation hosted a STEP Forward Google Hangout, where an expert panel focused on how to attract and retain women in the manufacturing industry. STEP Forward is the Institute’s initiative to empower women in manufacturing and inspire the next generation of female talent to pursue careers in the industry. During this live virtual session, the panelists told their own stories and shared best practices covering a range of topics like the importance of getting men involved in the conversation, showcasing females in leadership positions and exposing young women and parents to modern manufacturing careers.
Manufacturers across the country are struggling to fill open positions. And one critical barrier to filling these jobs is that too often women aren’t seeing that there is a place for them in today’s manufacturing. Many outstanding women leaders are making huge strides in impacting this industry and are demonstrating what modern manufacturing offers—rewarding and fulfilling careers with limitless opportunity for growth. Today’s manufacturing employees are building and designing the future, and women in manufacturing serve as ambassadors to move this industry forward.
Research shows women are more likely to look for careers that offer personal and intellectual growth. In fact, women ranked opportunities for challenging and interesting assignments as a top priority when considering their career. Modern manufacturing provides women with opportunity for advancement and long-lasting careers in a range of sectors. On the STEP Forward Google Hangout, the panelists expressed how rewarding it is to be a maker and create products that Americans use every day to increase our standards of living.
Knowing the importance of a diverse workforce, the Institute is promoting the role of women in manufacturing through the larger STEP Ahead initiative, which serves to mentor and recognize women in this critical sector while also leading research efforts tackling this important topic. STEP Ahead honorees and emerging leaders are motivating women to choose careers in manufacturing, and over the past five years, those awarded have impacted more than 300,000 individuals, from peers in the industry to school-aged children.
Manufacturers today must collaborate and work together to diversify the current and future workforce. Showcasing the reality of manufacturing to young women is a huge step toward bridging the skills gap and allowing the industry to reach its full potential. Watch the STEP Forward Google Hangout to hear the insightful discussion on exposing women and the next generation to the opportunities available in manufacturing and continue to follow the conversation at #MFGwomen.