Statement on President Obama’s Manufacturing Skills Speech

Wed, 06/08/2011

We are pleased that President Obama recognizes the central role that a robust manufacturing presence plays in our economy. And, we commend the attention he is paying to boosting skills and training for young Americans who want to work with their hands as well as with their minds. The United States is far behind the rest of the industrialized world in preparing our workforce for highly skilled careers in manufacturing.

Our stakeholders work every day to provide skills and training to new and displaced workers, but they face long odds as blue collar work has fallen out of fashion, and along with it the infrastructure to prepare Americans for manufacturing careers.

The Skills for America’s Future partnership is a very promising initiative. To make it work, we will need better training opportunities in high school and, more than anything else, we will need to bust the myth that there is no future for a young man or woman in the factory. It’s incumbent on all of us to break down the walls that students, parents, teachers, and counselors may have erected to considering careers in manufacturing. To do that, we need to do a better job of outreach and education, and we need the right set of policies to boost manufacturing in America so that we will continue to create opportunities for workers.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing stands by ready to tackle this challenge with the President, leaders in Congress and others.

AAM and its members have already been leading the way forward on this issue. For good examples of existing skills and training programs, see ArcelorMittal’s Steelworker for the Future program and the United Steelworkers’ Institute for Career Development.

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