Manufacturing Group Tries to Draw Millennials With New Initiative

The Precision Metalforming Association's new MFG NXT effort builds on the group's prior success in reaching new demographics.

A few years ago, the Precision Metalforming Association reached out to a group of members who had previously been neglected. That led to the creation of Women in Manufacturing, an group so successful that it was spun off as a separate nonprofit.

Now, PMA is trying it again—this time focusing on millennials. MFG NXT, an initiative announced earlier this year, is designed to attract younger generations to metalforming.

“We need to nurture a new generation of leaders to ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to keep growing, embracing new technologies and adapting to a changing world,” PMA President Bill Gaskin said in a June news release. “MFG NXT is all about bringing together talented young manufacturing leaders who are committed to success in their companies and to the future of the U.S. manufacturing sector.”

Part of the reason for this group, notes Allison Grealis, vice president of membership and association services, is that there has been a shift at many of PMA’s member companies: As older employees leave the industry, younger ones have been harder to come by.

“We want manufacturing companies to thrive,” Grealis told Crain’s Cleveland Business. “I mean, we want them to not go out of business. And I think that for that continuity to happen, we want it to be a resource for these, especially small-to-midsize manufacturing companies as they transition leadership, as they onboard and bring on new talent. We want to be able to be a resource that they can suggest to their millennial and Gen X employees.”

Grealis, who is also president of Women in Manufacturing, said PMA isn’t looking to spin off the group as it did before. Instead, the goal is to encourage younger people to find a place in the manufacturing space.

The new initiative is slowly getting moving—PMA says 20 to 25 people attended a June meeting, and it has private mailing lists already active—but it plans to make an even bigger push in 2017, with the help of virtual learning courses.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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