Pledge to America’s Workers – Restoring and Reshoring Manufacturing JOBS

By Glenn Marshall

At the end of World War II, America had become the world’s leading manufacturing powerhouse, accountable for 50 percent of the world’s industrial production. Now, the U.S. produces only a fifth of the global manufacturing output. Historically, the U.S. possessed both the knowledge, skills, and culture to design and produce quality products and services that created good-paying JOBS which made the “American Dream” a reality.

The Challenge

While the public agrees manufacturing is critical to reviving the economy and middle-class incomes, many would not recommend manufacturing jobs to their children. Students are not being prepared to — or even informed about — taking these jobs. Manufacturers need to promote the image of “advanced manufacturing,” which offers a clean and safe environment and provides creative and highly skilled opportunities, with middle-class wages and benefits.

By some estimates, 85 percent of new manufacturing jobs are classified as “skilled.” According to a study by Deloitte, eighty-two percent of the manufacturers surveyed report that a shortage of workers with properly aligned skills adversely affects their ability to meet demand, and 78 percent say it hinders their ability to implement new technologies that increase productivity and competitiveness.

A Call to Action

President Trump has ask companies to commit to expanding programs that educate, train, and re-skill American workers of all ages by signing the Pledge to America’s Workers. More than 300 companies and organizations have signed the Pledge, contributing to over 12 MILLION new education and training opportunities for American students and workers over the next five years.

Ivanka Trump is co-leading the White House workforce development program which focuses on vocational job training and apprenticeships as an alternative to the almost-default setting of a four-year college degree route.

Restoring Manufacturing JOBS

Skills, not college pedigree, will be what matters for the future workforce. Skills-focused vocational programs like credentialing and apprenticeships, proven ways for workers to climb the economic ladder, should be widely accessible and affordable.

A Career Technical Education - once called vocational education - is enjoying a resurgence of interest and support. It provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers, college, and as lifelong learners.

Jarrod Nagurka, advocacy and public affairs manager at the Virginia-based Association for Career and Technical Education, said there is a growing need for skilled workers — jobs that require more than a high school diploma but not a bachelor’s degree. But often people don’t understand what that work entails or the pay it offers.

Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) is organized by The Manufacturing Institute—the education and workforce partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) — to help show the reality of modern technology and advanced manufacturing careers. The objective is to prepare and graduate career and college-ready citizens with the education and the foundational skills in reading, math and science required to qualify for good-paying jobs. These workers will then lead the way in designing and making things, at home again. Last year, more than 80 percent of participating students said they became more convinced that manufacturing provides interesting and rewarding careers. These events are held annually on the first Friday in October and continuing throughout the month.

To support the replenishment of the talent pipeline with skilled workers the Job Creators Network launched a campaign, the “Fight for $50K,” aimed at protecting and increasing the number of “first jobs” so young people can obtain the skills and experience leading to $50,000 per year or more —including employment in manufacturing, construction, energy, retail management and other rewarding career fields.

Reshoring Manufacturing JOBS

Reshoring, the practice of bringing manufacturing and services back to the U.S. from overseas, is a fast and efficient way to strengthen the U.S. economy because it helps balance the trade and budget deficits, reduces unemployment by creating good, well-paying manufacturing jobs and fosters a skilled workforce. The Reshoring Initiative, founded by CEO Harry Moser, is focused on helping companies shift collective thinking from believing offshoring is cheaper, to understanding local reduces the total cost of ownership. Reshoring benefits manufacturing companies by reducing the total cost of their products, improving balance sheets and making product innovation more effective.

In 2018 announcements of manufacturing jobs to come back from offshore totaled 145,000, up 20 times from 2010. The Reshoring Initiative offers free online tools to help companies make better sourcing decisions and to sell against imports. Also, a service that identifies the biggest importers of what companies produce and trains the companies to convince the importers to buy from them instead. To learn how reshoring and American companies are making a difference come to see the expanding number of products designed and produced at home on October 4th through the 6th at the Made in America 2019 conference.

The Pathway Forward

Newport News Shipbuilding, Ingersoll Rand, Alamo Academies along with other industry and academic leaders are sharing best practices on learning that works: initiatives, apprenticeships and workforce development programs. To learn how to replenish the talent pipeline with skilled workers and people-centric leaders for success in the 4.0 Industrial Revolution come to Chicago Nov 4 – 8th for the AME International Conference.

Workforce development is the key to making “Made in America” an economic reality, again. America needs to restore its educational and manufacturing roots to revive a growing economy and the creation of more middle-class jobs to make the “American Dream” achievable for all of our citizens.

Glenn Marshall, Newport News Shipbuilding Career Pathways (retired), is on the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Management Team initiative for leading a “Manufacturing Renaissance” and a member of the Job Creators Network. For more information email marsh8279@aol.com.

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