Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Dean Heller (R-NV), with additional support from Joe Donnelly (D-IN), introduced the AMERICA Works Act in the U.S. Senate, which would help in addressing the severe skills gap facing U.S. manufacturers. Recent data has shown that approximately 600,000 jobs may be going unfilled due to the lack of a skilled workforce, hindering economic growth and innovation in the U.S. The AMERICA Works Act would support manufacturers’ strategies to grow a qualified workforce by using industry-recognized certifications representing industry’s standards for education, training and employment.
“In order to thrive in the global economy, manufacturers must have a highly skilled, productive, and flexible workforce. A strong workforce allows companies to improve processes, discover innovations, and apply new technologies. As the manufacturing environment rapidly advances, the skills and competencies of the workforce must keep pace. Industry-recognized certifications, such as those in the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, help individuals access the skills and competencies they need for manufacturing jobs today. Certifications also help employers know that an individual’s capacities are up to industry standards, making it easier for them to hire and promote their workforce. The Manufacturing Institute is very excited to support this important piece of legislation,” said Manufacturing Institute president Jennifer McNelly.
“Our manufacturing process is not what it was 25 years ago, it requires more advanced skills to deliver a high-quality product,” says Sandy Westlund-Deenihan, CEO of Quality Float Works. “Hiring someone with a nationally-portable, industry recognized certification allows my company to be secure in the knowledge that we are hiring someone with the skills necessary to maintain that level of quality.”