Policy and Legal

Policy and Legal

How Policymakers Can Support the Manufacturing Workforce

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Manufacturers across the country need a strong workforce to enhance the industry’s competitiveness and lead it into a bright future. The NAM is working with policymakers and manufacturers alike to help make that future possible.

The challenge: The need for qualified candidates in manufacturing roles is growing fast. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of available manufacturing jobs has nearly doubled.

  • According to a recent study by The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education partner of the NAM—and Deloitte, retirements and a persistent skills gap could cause more than 2.1 million U.S. manufacturing jobs to go unfilled by 2030.

Our priorities: The NAM is advocating policies that will help people of all backgrounds find incredible jobs in modern manufacturing.

  • That means ensuring every student graduates from high school with the preparation they need to take the next step; reducing barriers to postsecondary education and skills development; creating pathways to good jobs and lifelong learning; creating partnerships between post-secondary institutions and employers; and supporting a range of high-quality education and training models.

Our solutions: To achieve these objectives, the NAM has offered a series of commonsense solutions, including the following:

  • Expanding the Pell Grant program to include short-term education models and skills training
  • Investing in apprenticeship and earn-and-learn programs
  • Promoting attainment of industry-based credentials as a way to complete community and technical colleges
  • Increasing the amount of tax-exempt educational assistance employers can provide
  • Prioritizing employer leadership in federal discretionary grant competitions
  • Reforming federal work study programs to highlight career-focused skills

What we’re saying: “Manufacturers are training and educating new generations of talented, ambitious young people,” said NAM Executive Vice President Erin Streeter in her keynote address at the 2022 Manufacturers’ Awards Banquet for the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing. “All of this is ultimately about imparting learners with the skills and values needed to succeed in modern manufacturing.”

Our programs: The MI is focused on a range of initiatives to help build the manufacturing workforce. People interested in a manufacturing career should consider the FAME program, originally founded by Toyota, which offers participants training and certification. The MI also offers programs focused specifically on students, veterans and women.

Learn more: Find out more about the NAM’s policy recommendations for building a strong and effective workforce in “Competing to Win”—a blueprint for policies that support manufacturing in America.

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