ReMaking America stops in Milwaukee

Posted by TGarland on 02/27/2014

Last night, some fine residents of Milwaukee braved the sub-zero temperatures to join the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) at the Milwaukee Area Labor Council for our ReMaking America book tour and a conversation about the future of American manufacturing, specifically in Wisconsin.

Representative Peter Barca, Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader (D-Kenosha), kicked off the conversation with a plan for supporting and growing the state's manufacturing sector. Barca highlighted the state’s existing Buy American laws for manufactured materials. The provision requires the purchase of U.S. manufactured materials when all other factors are “substantially equal.”

Barca urged investment in workforce development:

What could we do with a budget surplus? We could get people in Wisconsin trained for the jobs that need to be filled and get people back to work!

Following Rep. Barca's remarks, AAM President Scott Paul was joined by Rhandi Berth of the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership and Kyle Worzala, a welder and volunteer instructor at a local high school. The panel talked about the impediments younger adults face for a manufacturing career.

Worzala, a millennial himself, said manufacturing needs to be presented as a viable career option earlier on in high school.

If we open more doors in high school for vocational classes, we'll open more doors for manufacturing in the state. We have to show kids that there are other options than going to college.

Berth highlighted the need for appreticeship programs. Most current manufacturing jobs require some level of education beyond a high school diploma. The Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership established programs with local unions and companies to train young workers for a career in manufacturing.

We had a great night filled with vibrant conversation about what Washington, Wisconsin, American companies, workers, and consumers must do to support and strengthen American manufacturing.

We’ll be back soon. Thank you Milwaukee!

Join the converstion on how to rebuild the America's manufacturing sector: order a copy of ReMaking America here.

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