Two of U.S. manufacturing’s top executives took centerstage yesterday as a part of the industry’s largest perception campaign to build the workforce of the future—by helping educators, parents and other career mentors coach students on their career journeys.
- Caterpillar Group President of Resource Industries (and NAM Executive Committee member) Denise Johnson and ADM Senior Vice President of Global Operations (and NAM board member) Veronica Braker joined NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, Manufacturing Institute President Carolyn Lee, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President and CEO Mark Denzler and other notable state, community and education leaders to kick off the Decatur, Illinois, stop of the Creators Wanted Tour at Richland Community College.
- More than 120 students from American Dreamer STEM Academy attended the kickoff event. (More than 800 students are expected over the tour stop’s three days.) There they heard manufacturing leaders’ perspectives and explored exhibits and activations showcasing the many opportunities in modern manufacturing.
Why it matters: “Fifty percent of Macon County’s economy [, where Decatur is located,] comes from manufacturing … the single highest share of any county in Illinois,” said Denzler. “Programs like Creators Wanted are crucial for making significant progress in narrowing the workforce shortage … in manufacturing,” said Braker.
Beyond the campus: WAND-TV, the local NBC affiliate, covered the kickoff, and Timmons and Denzler joined Decatur’s top morning radio talk show, “Byers & Co.,” to amplify the Creators Wanted message.
- More than 500,000 students and career mentors have signed up to date through the Creators Wanted Tour to learn more about modern manufacturing careers.
- The governor of Illinois declared yesterday “Creators Wanted Day” in the state, and the Chicago Sun-Times (subscription) published an op-ed by Denzler on the opportunities in modern manufacturing in Illinois.
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