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MI Summit Advances Workforce Solutions

Last year, The Manufacturing Institute—the workforce development and education partner of the NAM—came to a realization: there were manufacturing conferences and there were workforce conferences, but neither addressed manufacturing-workforce challenges from a broad, national perspective. The MI wanted to change that.

And it did, just this month—with the inaugural, now-annual, MI Workforce Summit.

What it is: The summit, held this month in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a first-of-its-kind, multiday event that brought manufacturers, educators, community partners, association leaders and more together to network, attend workshops and hear talks from manufacturing and workforce leaders. All of them had the same goal: to build the manufacturing workforce of today and tomorrow to ensure the industry’s competitiveness.

  • Made possible by sponsors including the Arconic Foundation, WestRock, FactoryFix, the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council and EY, and supported by the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the summit drew more than 300 participants.
  • Half the attendees were manufacturing employers and half were from the MI’s leading partners.

What happened: The summit, with its theme of forging partnerships, resulted in the creation of more than 920 new connections among workforce stakeholders. It focused on three “areas of importance”: attracting, training and retaining quality employees and how partnerships enable success across all three. Specific events at the summit included:

  • A plenary fire-side session on how partnerships helped Toyota and the entire manufacturing sector grow in northern Alabama;
  • Breakout sessions focused on a range of key issues, including how parents and teachers help manufacturers attract talent, how the workforce can prepare for automation and how economic developers are now assisting in workforce development;
  • Newly released research from the MI on adaptive skills and future skills needs;
  • A plenary on the impact of culture on employee retention;
  • Interactive Q&As on recruiting, training and retaining employees; and
  • A session on how corporate and foundation grants can improve the manufacturing workforce ecosystem.

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