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.
In her role, Carolyn leads the Institute’s workforce efforts to close the skills gap and inspire all Americans to enter the U.S. manufacturing workforce, focusing on women, youth, and veterans. Carolyn steers the Institute’s initiatives and programs to educate the public on manufacturing careers, improve the quality of manufacturing education, engage, develop and retain key members of the workforce, and identify and document best practices. In addition, Carolyn drives the agenda for the Center for Manufacturing Research, which partners with leading consulting firms in the country. The Institute studies the critical issues facing manufacturing and then applies that research to develop and identify solutions that are implemented by companies, schools, governments, and organizations across the country.
Prior to joining the Institute, Carolyn was Senior Director of Tax Policy at the NAM beginning in 2011, where she was responsible for key portions of the NAM’s tax portfolio representing the manufacturing community on Capitol Hill and in the business community and working closely with the NAM membership. She served as the Director of Legislative and Government Affairs at the Telecommunications Industry Association, Manager of State and Federal Government Affairs for 3M Company, and in various positions on Capitol Hill including as Legislative Director for former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and as a senior legislative staff member for former U.S. Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY).
Carolyn is a graduate of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania graduating with a B.A. in Political Science. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three children.
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