Education and Training

What Did You Do on Your Summer Vacation?

With the summer months behind us and school back in full swing, some students are fortunate enough to return to the classroom with valuable internship experience that will set them up for future academic and professional success. FMC Corporation took on the challenge this summer to increase the number of STEM college internships – a challenge that they more than met, successfully tripling internship placements compared to last summer.

FMC’s internship program placed students at sites across the United States and even abroad in places like Brussels and Shanghai. Interns are able to work on significant projects that directly helped FMC operations. NAM board member and president of FMC Specialty Chemicals, Michael Wilson pointed out that “through internships we can directly impact the future of manufacturing by showing students the many exciting career opportunities open to them in science based companies”.

FMC’s accomplishment is an important step in the effort to increase attention to STEM education. With 600 thousand manufacturing jobs going unfilled, the Manufacturing Institute has taken the lead on addressing the deficits in manufacturing education and training. Getting students exposed to exciting careers available in manufacturing is a great place to start and we commend FMC on their efforts!

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BASF Talks About Skills Gap at NAM Summit

BASF, whose U.S. headquarters is found in Florence, N.J., has been an active part of the NAM Summit today, taking the message of lower taxes, affordable energy, and a skilled workforce all over Capitol Hill.

In one meeting with Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), they shared the ongoing issue of the skills gap that has left 600,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled across America. They are asking Congress to pass the America Works Act in order to create a nationally portable certification system to address the problem.

BASF is doing their part to create jobs and in the near future will be adding over 100 jobs at their North Carolina facilities.

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Kennametal CEO Speaks in Washington on Importance of Manufacturing

Today NAM Board Member and Kennametal Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Carlos Cardoso spoke at the National Press Club to discuss manufacturing and the need to bridge the gap between how the public views manufacturing and the actual reality of manufacturing in the United States.  

Mr. Cardoso called on manufacturing leaders to help spread the message and share the success stories and the importance of educating young workers about manufacturing careers. 

Kennametal also released a poll which shows that Americans are not as aware that manufacturing is leading the economic recovery and don’t believe manufacturing jobs are available. The NAM and manufacturers like Kennametal are working to change that perception and better educate the public and our leaders in government about the critical role of manufacturing in our economy and the need for highly skilled workers.

One of the main goals of the NAM’s Manufacturing Renaissance: Four Goals for Economic Growth is to ensure that manufacturers in the U.S. have the workforce that the 21st-century manufacturing economy requires.

From the Kennametal press release:

“The U.S. manufacturing sector has been steadily growing and right now, 600,000 manufacturing jobs are available,” Cardoso said. “Most of these positions require specialized skills and education, and as manufacturers, we have a responsibility to educate people about these opportunities and build the manufacturing workforce of the future. At Kennametal, we take this seriously and are helping to deliver the promise of manufacturing today through our actions.”

Joining Mr. Cardoso today were representatives from Greater Latrobe High School which is a partner in the company’s Young Engineers Program. Students in this program get to learn first-hand about manufacturing by participating in hands-on projects and mentoring from Kennametal engineers. This program is just one of many educational initiatives by manufacturers throughout the country to help educate students on manufacturing jobs.

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Increasing STEM Internships Important to Competitiveness

Last week the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness announced that nearly 50 businesses have pledged to double or increase the number of STEM internships available to students. Many of these businesses which have agreed to increase internships are manufacturers.

In case you missed it here is an excerpt from the National Association of Manufacturers press release on the announcement:

“Advanced education and training is becoming increasingly more important to manufacturers. If employees do not have the right training and skills, manufacturers in the United States will fall behind our competitors, harming our economic growth,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “These manufacturers are to be commended for taking an important step to increase the number of STEM internship opportunities, which is critical to economic growth and job creation.”

From Pittsburgh Business Times on the announcement:

The council’s goal is to address the country’s shortage of STEM workers. According to information released by the annual amount of engineers graduating from U.S. universities has remained steady at about 120,000 from 1990 and 2010. However, about 1 million engineers a year graduate from universities in India and China.

We would like to highlight a few manufacturers that have also agreed to increase internships, which include FMC Corporation, Corning Incorporated, Longview Fibre and Eastman Chemical. We thank these companies for taking this step to help improve education and training for students which is extremely important to our manufacturing competitiveness.

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NAM and the New Work Era Forum

The NAM partnered with the Atlantic today to host the New Work Era forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.  The event featured Manufacturing Institute President Emily DeRocco as well as NAM members Nick Pinchuk, Chair and CEO of Snap-On Inc.; Bob Corteau, President, SAP North America; and Mike Morris, Chair and CEO of American Electric Power Company, Inc.  They joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, AOL co-founder Steve Case, Senator Mark Warner, and others in the day’s discussion about how to close the skills gap and create jobs in America.

You can watch the day’s events here.

Here are some photos of the event (courtesy of The Atlantic/GE Gargallo Photography)

From left to right: Amanda Ripley, Contributor, The Atlantic; Emily DeRocco, President, The Manufacturing Institute; John Sexton, President, New York University; Bob Courteau, President, SAP North America; Bob Templin, President, Northern Virginia Community College; Laszlo Bock, Senior VP, People Operations, Google

From left to right: Steve Clemons, Editor in Chief, AtlanticLIVE; Byron Auguste, Director, Social Sector Office, McKinsey & Company; Mike Morris, Chair and CEO, American Electric Power Company, Inc.; Jeff Joerres, Chair, CEO and Presiden,t ManpowerGroup (SIC); Nick Pinchuk, Chair and CEO, Snap-on Incorporated; Frits van Paasschen, President and Chief Executive Officer, STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE INC.

From left to right: Amanda Ripley, Contributor, The Atlantic; Emily DeRocco, President, The Manufacturing Institute; John Sexton, President, New York University; Bob Courteau, President, SAP North America; Bob Templin, President, Northern Virginia Community College; Laszlo Bock, Senior VP, People Operations, Google

From left to right: Steve Clemons, Editor in Chief, AtlanticLIVE; Byron Auguste, Director, Social Sector Office, McKinsey & Company; Mike Morris, Chair and CEO, American Electric Power Company, Inc.; Jeff Joerres, Chair, CEO and Presiden,t ManpowerGroup (SIC); Nick Pinchuk, Chair and CEO, Snap-on Incorporated; Frits van Paasschen, President and Chief Executive Officer, STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE INC.

Nick Pinchuk, Chair and CEO, Snap-on Incorporated

From left to right: Neil Kerwin, President, American University; Mike Morris, Chairman and CEO, American Electric Power Company

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AMERICA Works Act Introduced in the Senate

Late last month Senator Kay Hagan introduced the AMERICA Works Act in the Senate. The bill was also introduced in the House back in early April by Rep. Donnelly (D-IN), Platts (R-PA), and Boren (D-OK). Manufacturers have a long record of supporting this legislation, which is a realistic approach to education and workforce training. The legislation simply directs existing public funds towards training in industry-recognized, national portable credentials.

Recently, President Obama highlighted the NAM endorsed Skills Certification system in an effort to credential 500,000 students in the next five years. This legislation would play a pivotal role in fostering this effort.

Many manufacturers are still finding it difficult to find skilled workers to fill job vacancies. The AMERICA Works Act will help provide educational and career opportunities for workers and help increase productivity, innovation and help improve manufacturers’ competitiveness. 

We will continue to urge the House and Senate to pass the AMERICA Works Act, a vital piece of legislation to aid in our economic recovery.

Christine Scullion is director of human resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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Manufacturing Makes an Appearance at First-Ever Twitter Town Hall

President Obama hosted a Twitter Town Hall yesterday to field questions from the tweeting public. (Here’s the transcript.)

In response to a question from “David,” the President touched on a number of issues that are important to manufacturers, like research and development incentives and the need for a strong manufacturing workforce.  The President, of course, recently endorsed the Manufacturing Institute’s Skills Certification System, and manufacturers continue to push for a strengthened and permanent R  & D tax credit.

Here’s the exchange:

MR. DORSEY:  Mr. President, 27 percent of our questions are in the jobs category, as you can see from the screen over here.  Our next question has to do about jobs and technology.  It comes from David:  “Tech and knowledge industries are thriving, yet jobs discussion always centers on manufacturing.  Why not be realistic about jobs?”

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it’s not an either/or question; it’s a both/and question.  We have to be successful at the cutting-edge industries of the future like Twitter.  But we also have always been a country that makes stuff.  And manufacturing jobs end up having both higher wages typically, and they also have bigger multiplier effects.  So one manufacturing job can support a range of other jobs — suppliers and the restaurant near the plant and so forth.  So they end up having a substantial impact on the overall economy.

What we want to focus on is advanced manufacturing that combines new technology, so research and development to figure out how are we going to create the next Twitter, how are we going to create the next Google, how are we going to create the next big thing — but make sure that production is here.

So it’s great that we have an Apple that’s creating iPods, iPads and designing them and creating the software, but it would be nice if we’re also making the iPads and the iPods here in the United States, because that’s some more jobs that people can work at.

And there are going to be a series of decisions that we’ve got to make.  Number one, are we investing in research and development in order to emphasize technology?  And a lot of that has to come from government.  That’s how the Internet got formed. That’s how GPS got formed.  Companies on their own can’t always finance the basic research because they can’t be assured that they’re going to get a return on it.

Number two, we’ve got to drastically improve how we train our workforce and our kids around math and science and technology.

Number three, we’ve got to have a top-notch infrastructure to support advanced manufacturing, and we’ve got to look at sectors where we know this is going to be the future.  Something like clean energy, for example.  For us not to be the leaders in investing in clean energy manufacturing so that wind turbines and solar panels are not only designed here in the United States but made here in the United States makes absolutely no sense.  We’ve got to invest in those areas for us to be successful.

So you can combine high-tech with manufacturing, and then you get the best of all worlds.

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Dow Chairman and CEO Liveris to Co-Chair White House Advanced Manufacturing Partnership

This morning President Obama announced the formation of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership which is an effort to bring together universities, industry and the federal government to help invest in new technologies to advance manufacturing jobs. The goal of the program is to boost our nation’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Dow Chemical Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris will Co-Chair the partnership along with Susan Hockfield, president of MIT. Mr. Liveris has been a strong advocate for manufacturing in the United States and brings to the table valuable experience from a successful career in manufacturing.

From the White House press release:

“Today, I’m calling for all of us to come together- private sector industry, universities, and the government- to spark a renaissance in American manufacturing and help our manufacturers develop the cutting-edge tools they need to compete with anyone in the world,” said President Obama. “With these key investments, we can ensure that the United States remains a nation that ‘invents it here and manufactures it here’ and creates high-quality, good paying jobs for American workers.”

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President Obama Reaches Out to Manufacturers On Skills Certification

I had the opportunity to be with President Obama today at an event at the Northern Virginia Community College where he announced a new initiative and key steps toward building an educated and skilled workforce in manufacturing.  The President particularly highlighted The Manufacturing Institute’s NAM-endorsed Skills Certification System as a national solution.  There were several NAM board members in attendance with me and it was a great event.

I did take the opportunity to talk briefly with the President and I not only thanked him for the event but also told him we needed to work together on the regulatory review process.  I expressed my concerns over many of the regulations coming out of EPA and their impact on manufacturing. The President noted that the administration wants to ensure that benefits outweigh the cost of regulations.  Our hope at the NAM is that we will see concrete action to curtail the over regulation from many agencies, especially the EPA.  It truly was a great day for manufacturing and I very much appreciate the President’s priority to this issue.

News coverage of the event:

New York Times: “Obama Talks Up Job Training”
Chronicle of Higher Education: “Obama to Unveil New Credentialing System During Visit to Community College”
Industry Week: “Industry Applauds National Attention on Manufacturing Workforce Development”
The Hill: “White House, industry expand programs to educate, train workers”
Bloomberg: “Obama Says Community College Training Can Help Fill Jobs Gap”
UPI: “Obama launches job-training partnership”

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President Obama to Host Event on Improving the Manufacturing Workforce

This morning at 11:30 President Obama will speak an event at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria to announce an industry led initiative to improve partnerships with community colleges to help develop a better skilled workforce for today’s manufacturing jobs. The President will highlight the Manufacturing Institute’s NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System as a solution to meeting the goal of credentialing 500,000 community college students in the next five years.

The event will be streamed live online at

Read the statement from NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and from Manufacturing Institute President Emily DeRocco.

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