In an attempt to reverse a lingering skills gap that is expected to grow in the coming years, the National Association of Manufacturers is launching a $10 million campaign.
The National Association of Manufacturers, hitting its 125th anniversary, wants the public to think differently about manufacturing—and a new campaign timed to the 2020 elections is the way it plans to do it.
This week, NAM announced the creation of a $10 million campaign, driven by its members, to help rekindle interest in manufacturing jobs as a career option with lots of room for growth.
In comments to The Washington Post, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons noted that part of the driving factor behind the campaign is a declining reputation around manufacturing jobs among the public. NAM found that just 27 percent of parents were willing to encourage their children to pursue manufacturing.
“It’s the largest campaign that we’ve ever undertaken of this sort,” Timmons told the newspaper. “If we can have one out of every two parents saying, ‘Yeah, I’d like to see my child at least entertain the thought of going into manufacturing,’ we’d consider that a huge win.”
If the association can pull it off, it would help reverse the fortunes of American manufacturing in a big way. Research by NAM’s Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte released last year revealed that, if current trends held, there would be a skills gap of 2.4 million manufacturing jobs by 2028.
The campaign, called the Creators Wanted Fund, will come with a number of different aspects, including a mobile tour that will travel to at least 20 states over an 18-week period, a yearlong digital campaign, and a festival, to be held in Cincinnati, that will highlight manufacturing’s future through a variety of interactive elements. The CEOs of the major manufacturing firms Ingersoll Rand, Emerson, and Fluor will co-chair the campaign.
In a news release, Ingersoll Rand CEO Michael Lamach, NAM’s board chair, noted that the campaign “is a once-in-a-generation opportunity” to put a forward focus on its legacy and the career crises the field faces.
“We could have simply held traditional celebrations to mark the NAM’s milestone, but our mission is to look to the future and be the best stewards of our members’ investment,” Lamach said. “The Creators Wanted Fund and the campaign it will power are exactly what our industry and country need to build the talent pipeline and secure the future of manufacturing in the United States. I could not be more proud that the NAM is taking up this charge.”