Featured Image

Policy Matters

The goal of the updated Mandate is to impact decision-making among federal policymakers by providing a clear vision of near-term and long-term future goals of our industry.
by Greg Jones
Apr 16, 2021

The Smartforce Development department has actively been working with our AMT Advocacy group colleagues to develop an update of AMT’s Manufacturing Mandate to address market dynamics. In the previous version of the Mandate, we focused on three foundational guideposts with regard to Smartforce Development, including:

  • Supporting STEM challenges at schools with an emphasis on robotics competitions

  • Supporting industry-recognized standards and credentials, mainly through NIMS, that are germane to the greatest number of job functions that our industry needs in a significant recruiting pipeline of workers

  • Supporting the growth of internships and apprenticeships in our industry

In the years since we first put pen to paper for Smartforce Development in the Mandate, we have combined working within an existing framework of federal policy with intentional action on behalf of AMT on behalf of our members. The goal of the updated Mandate is to impact decision-making among federal policymakers by providing a clear vision of near-term and long-term future goals of our industry.

It’s fitting that the next generation Mandate focus on the impact of emerging technologies on workforce development and on having a positive effect on policies that will impact the next generation of workers in U.S. manufacturing facilities.

Even though manufacturing was deemed an essential industry at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall manufacturing workforce was reduced in size due to several factors, including supply chain disruptions negatively impacting the size and scope of the industry’s contribution to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) not protecting all jobs. Companies adjusted course in order to remain competitive, but the skills gap widened during 2020 as a result.

The trend toward automation, robotics, and other emerging technologies requires that we venture toward a more deliberate approach to our industry’s current, near-term and long-term workforce needs, and industry must lead the way with policymakers in Washington and in the 50 states.

AMT’s Manufacturing Mandate 3.0 includes the following recommendations:

  1. Develop policy and legislation to address a looming gap in our educational infrastructure by growing our pipeline of career and technical education (CTE) teachers and improving and creating awareness about opportunities in CTE.

  2. Develop policy and legislation to enable schools to be able to more affordably purchase manufacturing technology equipment, hardware, and software to build out their program labs so that they keep pace with technology advancements.

  3. Double down on the development of industry-recognized standards and credentials, as well as industry-recognized “earn and learn” apprenticeship programs for current job functions, in addition to those job functions that will arise as a result of emerging technologies.

Through education programs and events like IMTS, AMT will continue to work to change perceptions about careers in manufacturing among the next generation of students, their teachers, administrators, and family members. Awareness of STEM and CTE career pathways are an important step to closing the skills gap in manufacturing, but policy matters too. As an industry, we must effect change at the federal and state levels to ensure that a consistent, competent workforce is headed toward a career in U.S. manufacturing.

Greg Jones
Vice President, Smartforce Development
Greg Jones leads Smartforce Development, AMT’s effort to build a better-educated and trained workforce for the advanced manufacturing industry. To acc ...
Recent smartforce News
Over the years, you’ve seen us outline in this column the importance of supporting industry-recognized standards and credentials as one solution to the skills gap that we face in the advanced manufacturing industry. In most other industries, standard...
Over the past six months, our society has undertaken lifestyle and work changes that only a world-altering, once-in-a-century event like SARS-CoV-2 could inspire. Entire businesses have gone virtual for the foreseeable future, including schools...
We are more ready than ever to put 2020 behind us. Despite all the challenges that we all faced, this year was also a year for improving processes, workflows, and product developments that will enable us all to have a more prosperous new year in 2021...
A new CNC machining education program has been developed in collaboration with IACMI – The Composites Institute and Oak Ridge National Laboratory as part of America’s Cutting Edge (ACE), a national initiative for machine tool technology development and...
How can manufacturing technology companies find potential partners and other resources to advance their capabilities to develop innovative new products and technologies cost effectively? You don’t need to go it alone and hire all the expertise you need...