Creators Wanted: White House Tackles Workforce Development

Manufacturers in America might as well just have a permanent sign on their doors: “Creators Wanted.” By 2025, according to a study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, the industry will need to fill more than 3 million jobs. That’s why today’s event at the White House, signaling a new national strategy for workforce development, is so important for us at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), The Manufacturing Institute and, really, for all Americans.

Hearing from the students and apprentices at the event today was truly inspiring, and their stories are the stories I hear from people across the country every day who see their opportunity to get on-the-job training as a pathway for a better future for them and their families. At the White House this afternoon, you could feel the optimism taking root as our nation finally took a bold step and charted a new way forward that will transform the lives of millions of Americans and revive communities from coast to coast.

It’s a transformation that we’ve been fighting to achieve for years—because we know these jobs are high-paying, allow people to use their talents and creativity and will make the United States stronger, more innovative and better prepared to meet the challenges of whatever the future holds for our country and the world.

Look, this administration gets it. To give more Americans a chance to go as far as their dreams and work ethic will take them through the incredible opportunities unique to modern manufacturing, we have two big tasks ahead of us. First, we need to get more people in our country to see a career in modern manufacturing as an aspirational goal, with tons of paths to reach and attain them—from vocational school to other training programs. Second, we need to do a better job of upskilling our people for the opportunities of today and tomorrow.

The president and Ivanka Trump touched on these charges today and put the force of the White House behind this critical mission. And manufacturers are dedicated partners standing by their side, ready to sign the Pledge to America’s Workers and keep pushing us forward. The NAM’s recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey found that:

  • Two-thirds of respondents said that they intend to increase apprenticeships, training and/or other mentoring programs or initiatives in the next year.
  • Roughly 90 percent said that they regularly train or upskill their existing workforce.

The strategies the White House announced today complement the many workforce initiatives underway at the NAM and the NAM’s Manufacturing Institute, such as Manufacturing DayCreators Wanted, the NAM State of Manufacturing TourHeroes MAKE AmericaSTEP Ahead, the Skills Gap Survey and Dream It. Do It.

It’s an exciting time. But don’t take my word for it. Hear it from the voices of manufacturers who are taking over the NAM’s Twitter account and speaking for themselves and the industry.

Carolyn Lee

Carolyn Lee

Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute at The Manufacturing Institute
Carolyn Lee is Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation’s largest industrial trade association. Carolyn drives an agenda focused on improving the manufacturing industry through its three centers: the Center for the American Workforce, the Center for Manufacturing Research, and the Center for Best Practices.

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.
Carolyn Lee

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