Solid international relationships will see us through any crisis, and artificial intelligence will add jobs to manufacturing, not remove them. Those were just two of the messages driven home by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons during a Yahoo Finance interview this week.
- Timmons gave the interview after a busy few days in London as part of the Competing to Win Tour in Europe, where he met with U.K. leaders and the U.S. ambassador to discuss strengthening the U.S.–U.K. alliance.
Trade deal needed: To ensure future manufacturing competitiveness, the U.S. needs a “robust agenda” from the Biden administration—now, said Timmons.
- “We haven’t seen a trade deal negotiated in our country or with our country for four presidencies,” continued Timmons. “We’re growing manufacturing in the United States thanks to the 2017 tax reforms, thanks to the infrastructure investment legislation, thanks to the CHIPS and Science Act.”
- “But … 95% of the world’s customers live outside of the United States. And we can strengthen our supply chains and we can also sell our products if we have the right trade agreements in place.”
Uniting to solve problems: Reinvigorating historic alliances is crucial to overcoming “any obstacle,” said Timmons.
- “[W]e want to make sure that our allies are … able to work together to solve some of these big macroeconomic issues, whether it’s a banking crisis or whether it’s increasing trade opportunities,” Timmons said.
AI: Meanwhile, AI will only expand and improve workers’ jobs, not replace human beings, Timmons said.
- AI is “going to [have] an incredibly positive impact on the sector because it is going to enhance manufacturing capability and output and it’s going to be a supplement to jobs all across the world,” Timmons said.
- “Think about all the technological advances we’ve had over the course of the last few decades, but especially the last five to 10 years. All of these advances have given additional capabilities to the workers.”
Filling jobs: As Timmons discussed, the NAM’s latest Manufacturers Survey found that nearly 75% of manufacturers cited attracting and retaining quality employees as a top challenge.
- He touched on some of the many initiatives of the Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s 501(c)3 workforce development and education affiliate, to shore up labor force participation. These include second chance hiring, Creators Wanted (which seeks to inspire tomorrow’s workforce) and more.
The last word: “And that takes this full circle,” Timmons said. “Young people are learning new skills when it comes to technology. Robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, all of those things are what modern manufacturing is all about. And the next generation are the ones that are going to deliver for us.”