Senator Hopes to Forge the Future with Manufacturing Summer Camps

Kyndal Sowers

Kyndal Sowers Intern, AAM

Ah, summertime – the time of year when many young children run off to camp. I’m getting nostalgic just thinking about the summers I spent at camp when I was a kid.

There’s a camp out there for all kids, no matter what they’re interested in – adventure camps, religious camps, sports camps, and scout camps, to name a few. In the past few years, a new kind of summer camp has cropped up that we are really jazzed about here at AAM: manufacturing camp.

For the past five summers, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has put on manufacturing camps throughout the state of Buckeye State for elementary and middle school students. Brown’s office works with local companies, research institutions, schools, and community organizations so the students can visit engineering and manufacturing facilities to learn hands-on what a career in manufacturing looks like.

Since launching in 2013, the program has grown to 19 camps in 15 counties across the state.

It’s fitting that the camps are in Ohio, considering that its manufacturing sector ranks third in the nation. Ohio has a rich history of manufacturing – at one point in history, manufacturing accounted for over half of Ohio jobs. Although this statistic has fallen, industry still has a large footprint in the state today. Manufacturing is the largest sector of Ohio’s economy, providing about 700,000 jobs in 2017.

Manufacturing is good for both Ohio’s economy and Ohio workers. Jobs in manufacturing are well-paying – the average annual earnings of Ohio workers in manufacturing were $72,000 per year in 2016, which is higher than average.

Despite the benefits of manufacturing to the economy, we frequently hear about the “skills gap.” A Deloitte report in 2015 projected that over the next ten years, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled, and 2 million of those jobs are expected to go unfilled.

AAM long has argued that both the government and the private sector have a role to play in closing that gap. But part of the problem is a perception issue among many young people (and their parents) about factory jobs.

Unfortunately, many people subscribe to the idea that the only way they can be successful is if they go to a traditional four-year university, or they have a negative view of manufacturing.

The Foundation of Fabricators & Manufacturers Association conducted a poll that found that 52 percent of teenagers said they have no interest in a career in manufacturing. Of those, 61 percent perceived manufacturing careers to be at a “dirty, dangerous place that requires little thinking or skill from its workers and offers minimal opportunity for personal growth or career advancement.”

This view of manufacturing is far from true.

Brown said it best:

“Too often, when some students and parents hear the word ‘manufacturing,’ they think about dirty, dusty old jobs, and the outdated, offensive term ‘rust belt.’ We are working to change that impression, because we know that today’s Ohio factories aren’t rusty – they’re innovative and high-tech, and will provide good-paying, high-skilled jobs to future generations of Ohioans.”

 When people are familiar with manufacturing, they are more likely to view it favorably.

The Foundation of Fabricators and Manufacturers found that survey respondents that were familiar with the manufacturing industry were more likely to rank it higher as a career choice. Also, respondents with high familiarity with manufacturing careers were likely to have more positive views toward the industry and were more than twice as likely to encourage their children to pursue manufacturing careers.

Brown’s program is a step in the right direction when it comes to getting more young people interested in manufacturing careers, and we are excited for the next generation of American workers.

Not only that, the camps look fun! Are we too old to sign up?

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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