Manufacturing Institute

Manufacturing Day 2018: A Multimillion-Dollar Earned Media Success

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On October 5, manufacturers across America celebrated Manufacturing Day and kicked off a month full of exciting and inspirational events. Thousands of factories and technical schools opened their doors to parents, teachers and students to show what a career in modern manufacturing has to offer. Manufacturers will have to fill as many as 3 million jobs by 2025, and getting the word out about these incredible opportunities is what Manufacturing Day is all about. Nearly 3,000 events were held across the country, and in a sign of the growing profile of this national event, President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation recognizing Manufacturing Day for the second year in a row. It was the first time that a president has issued consecutive proclamations.

All of the buzz and excitement generated a tremendous amount of media coverage, which is critical in our efforts to educate the public. All told, Manufacturing Day generated more than $2.2 million worth of free print and television coverage that reached nearly 13 million people. And on social media, manufacturers reached more than 51 million people! Manufacturing Day trended nationally on Twitter, where it was mentioned more than 20,000 times.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) also used the occasion to release our third quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which was featured on The Drudge Report and made national headlines. Making these results all the more remarkable, Manufacturing Day launched right in the middle of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, which had taken over the national news cycle completely. That meant it was even harder for manufacturers to “break through.”

By any measurement, Manufacturing Day 2018 was a resounding success. It would not have been possible without the leadership of Carolyn Lee and The Manufacturing Institute—the NAM’s social impact arm, which leads the effort—as well as our sponsors: PTC, Ariel Corporation, Cooper Standard, Harley-Davidson, PepsiCo, the Plastics Industry Association, Samsung and Walmart. The hard work and commitment paid off and opened the eyes of thousands of young people to the exciting possibilities that await them in a modern manufacturing career.

To learn about this year’s activities and how you can participate next year, check out

STEP Ahead: Building the Next Generation of Talent

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By Nicole Evans, Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Through a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The Manufacturing Institute hosted five young ladies from across the country at the 2018 STEP Ahead awards in Washington, D.C. The participating girls had all been involved in activities throughout the spring at their local Clubs, where NAM member employee volunteers led hands-on workshops on workforce development and manufacturing.

The girls met for the first time in D.C. at STEP Ahead, where they joined AJ Jorgensen, AVP, strategic program engagement for The Manufacturing Institute, on a morning panel. The girls shared their thoughts on the manufacturing industry, favorite things about STEM and their nuggets of wisdom for #MFGwomen.

The inspiration went both ways, too. The STEP Ahead women shared their own advice with the girls, from recommendations for internships and college majors (like industrial design), to industry perks like lucrative salaries and opportunities for innovation and creativity.

Read on to learn more about five young #MFGwomen who inspire us:





Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Favorite recent project: Building robots—especially her personal robot, Wally!

Her advice for #MFGwomen: “Never let anyone get you down. Prove that girls can do anything.”

Her big idea? Cleaning up air pollution so that everyone can breathe healthy.

What she was thinking about at the STEP Ahead gala: “Dessert!” And, of course, how cool it was to see women appreciated for something outside of traditional gender roles




Hometown: Hartford, CT

Why she loves manufacturing: Manufacturing brings impossibility to life. From design to building, the opportunities to get creative are endless.

What STEP Ahead felt like to her: “Powerful. Girls are getting recognized and growing, all around the world, to show men that they can do anything.”

Her big idea? She’s got her sights set on her first invention! An avid softball player and pitcher, she has plans to create and patent a machine to make it easier for pitchers to practice and perfect their art.

Her advice for #MFGwomen: “Girls should not be underestimated. Seeing all of the women at STEP shows that nothing should be considered just a man’s job.”



Hometown: Chicago, IL

Favorite subject in school: “Science. There’s just something about it that I love.”

Favorite recent project: Dissecting a sheep heart and testing the DNA

Why she loves manufacturing: Manufacturing is another form of art.

With $1 billion, she would… Change the way school systems measure success. Not everyone learns the same, so the same targets don’t make sense for every young person.

Her advice for #MFGwomen: “Influence women when they’re young. You can’t love what you don’t know. Keep doing things like this.”




Hometown: Omaha, NE

Her big idea? No more textbooks! By going digital, we can use less paper and help protect our ecosystem. And, added bonus, students won’t have to carry around heavy books.

Why she loves manufacturing: Companies are using science and technology to improve our world.

With $1 billion, she would… Use technology to solve everyday problems like lack of food or shelter. Everyone should have somewhere to go after a long day.

What she was thinking about at the STEP Ahead gala: Whether Dad will be jealous of her new, surprise laptop from the MI! She was proud of him for not being jealous of her trip to Washington, D.C., but worries the laptop could tip the scales.




Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Favorite subject in school: Math, because of the strategy and problem solving.

With $1 billion she would… Change hearts and minds! You can empower others to aim high simply by making them feel respected.

Why she loves manufacturing? It’s about creating and innovating our world.

Favorite recent project: She can’t pick just one! Coding, robotics and building a projector were all highlights. Missing class to attend STEP Ahead was her first ever absence from school.

Her advice to #MFGwomen: “People want to do jobs that help other people. They don’t realize that manufacturing helps people every day. Show them.”

I Continue to Be Bullish About Manufacturing Growth Over the Next Decade, Including Job Growth

By | Manufacturing Institute, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

Manufacturing continues to be one of the most important bellwethers regarding the health of the U.S. economy, and the prospects for growth remain robust over the next decade. After a sluggish few years, manufacturing is humming along nicely once again, and business leaders in the sector are very optimistic about their company outlook. This includes healthy expected increases in sales, production, exports and employment. In fact, the ability to attract and retain a quality workforce was in a virtual tie in the latest National Association of Manufacturers survey as the top concern among manufacturers, cited by nearly 72 percent of those responding.

Yet, analysts continue to posit that manufacturing is less important to economic growth today than it once was. After all, they suggest, manufacturing accounts for almost 12 percent of GDP today, down sharply from 31 percent 50 years ago, and employment in the sector is a smaller share of the total pie. Moreover, conventional wisdom is that manufacturing is in “decline,” a trend that will no doubt continue moving forward, many argue. Along those lines, the most recent occupational projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast a 0.6 percent decline in manufacturing employment over the next decade, making it one of the laggards in the economy as it relates to job growth.

Yet, such flawed analysis undersells how important manufacturing is for overall economic growth. Manufacturers contributed more than $2.2 trillion to the U.S. economy in the most recent data, demonstrating how intertwined manufacturing firms are with the rest of the economy. Indeed, business leaders often tell me about the hundreds or—for larger firms—thousands of suppliers they interact with every single day.

Manufacturing has the highest multiplier effect of any major sector. For every dollar spent in manufacturing, another $1.89 is added to the economy, and for every manufacturing worker, there are another four employees hired elsewhere. Indeed, shifts in manufacturing can affect the larger economy significantly. More importantly, millions of Americans rely on manufacturing as a path to the middle class. There are 12.45 million manufacturing workers, with average compensation of $82,023 in 2016, including pay and benefits.

Beyond those figures, we know that manufacturers have hired nearly 1 million additional workers on net since the end of the Great Recession, and there were nearly 400,000 job openings in the sector in the latest monthly data. In addition, a recent study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that manufacturers will need to hire 3.5 million workers between now and 2025, largely to replace those individuals who are retiring and to account for growth in the sector, but because of worker mismatches, firms will struggle to fill 2 million of those jobs.

Meanwhile, the United States is seen increasingly as a viable location for global manufacturers, with foreign direct investment in the sector exceeding $1.5 trillion in 2016, an all-time high. In addition, new technologies have the ability to alter radically the way manufacturers innovate, produce and sell their products moving forward, improving efficiency and competitiveness.

In fact, manufacturing today is more globally competitive, and I continue to be quite bullish about its long-term prospects in the United States. This includes employment growth. With more technology and an always-evolving sector, the workforce will likely change dramatically, a trend that we have already seen take place. Manufacturing is more advanced today and so is its workforce.

The employee mix 10 years from now will likely look completely different from today—much like the sector itself. We will need more workers in the trades but also more high-tech employees with science, technology, engineering and math skills. We need more women and military veterans to pursue a career in manufacturing to expand the potential workforce available to manufacturers and to help close the skills gap. And we need to change perceptions about how advanced modern manufacturing really is.

The future of manufacturing is bright, with the sector on the cusp of transformative changes that will help it better compete and prosper for years to come. That should not only benefit employees and the overall economy but also require new thinking about what the workforce of the future in manufacturing really looks like.

STEPping Up to Advance Women in the Workforce

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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.

Women in Manufacturing’s Impact: Yesterday, Today and the Future

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As I think about iconic manufacturing women in history, I think about how much we have accomplished and how much potential we have to grow. Some of the greatest inventors, creators and leaders in this world are women. In 1871, Margaret Knight was awarded her first patent for a machine that cut, folded and glued flat-bottomed paper shopping bags. In 1903, Mary Anderson invented and patented the windshield wiper. In 1908, Melitta Bentz received a patent for the coffee filter system. And in 1942, Hedy Lamarr invented a remote-controlled communications system for the U.S. military during World War II. Her frequency hopping theory now serves as a basis for modern communication technology, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. These women were preceded and followed by many more.

These women before me have forged a path for my career and success in this industry. I have always been fascinated by how things work, so I intentionally sought a career at a manufacturing company whose products transform the world. It’s helped me to understand the impact of industry beyond our national doorstep. One of the best things about my job is touring our facilities and watching raw materials become products; I am still awed by the deep science and engineering collaboration that allow Arconic’s innovations to emerge. That is the feeling I want every girl sitting in a science or math class to know—that each of them can help invent the next frontier of technology.

As chair of the 2018 STEP Ahead Awards, I recognize the significant impact present-day women have made on this industry. Over the past five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals, from peers in the industry to school-aged children. With that alone, we know these STEP Ahead women have played a part in attracting, retaining and advancing high-quality female talent in manufacturing, laying the groundwork for future visionaries, trendsetters and go-getters.

While there is an underrepresentation of women in the industry, I firmly believe that women will continue to rise to the occasion and create greatness—just as we have for centuries. Where would we be without the Hedy Lamarr’s or the Margaret Knight’s of the world? Where would we be without these thought leaders and innovators that have changed our lives as we know it? I am proud to be a part of an industry where women have played a significant part in shaping our current livelihood and will shape the future.

President Obama Reaches Out to Manufacturers On Skills Certification

By | Education and Training, General, Manufacturing Institute | No Comments

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”