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.