Manufacturing Associations Hope that New Legislation Will Help Combat Sector's Growing Skills Gap
Washington, DC - The National Tooling and Machining Association and the Precision Metalforming Association, together known as “One Voice,” today applaud President Obama’s signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803).
The bipartisan bill, which passed both the House and the Senate by wide margins, updates the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and covers dozens of job training programs. The legislation, “WIOA,” is part of ongoing efforts to close the skills gap in the U.S. manufacturing sector and enable employers to find and hire workers with the skills needed for competitiveness in modern manufacturing.
The bill’s provisions, among others, eliminate outdated programs; provide accountability and data reporting requirements; require implementation of industry or sector partnerships and career pathway strategies and, increase the ability to use on-the-job training (reimbursement rates up to 75%) and incumbent worker training (may use up to 20% of local funds).
Importantly, the bill also prioritizes the use of industry-recognized standards and credentials. This inclusion is especially significant for One Voice as NTMA and PMA are among the founders of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) and remain active in setting the bar for skills standards in the metalworking industry.
According to a recent One Voice survey, nearly 75% of members in both NTMA and PMA have job openings in manufacturing plants, and 80% report that they are having challenges recruiting qualified employees.
“The skills gap is a pressing challenge that has caused many U.S. manufacturers to have serious shortages of qualified potential employees,” said NTMA President Dave Tilstone. “Our members have seen this problem first-hand and we are hopeful that this new legislation will help with recruitment and retention for our sector which is vitally important to the American economy.”
NTMA and PMA have been leaders in pressing Congress to reform the outdated federal workforce system and strongly supported WIOA. Both organizations sponsor activities to attract students and new workers to manufacturing including NTMA’s National Robotics League and NTMA-U and PMA’s Women in Manufacturing.
“The good news is that the U.S. manufacturing sector is only expanding,” said PMA President Bill Gaskin. “We are pleased that our voices have been heard and our government is taking this important step to support our members and the manufacturing industry as a whole.”
About One Voice: The National Tooling and Machining Association’s (NTMA) and the Precision Metalforming Association’s (PMA) combined “One Voice” federal government advocacy program represents nearly 3,000 metalworking companies and is designed to promote U.S. government policies that will ensure a strong manufacturing sector in the United States. For additional information, please visit www.metalworkingadvocate.org.