Commentary: Creators Wanted — Opportunity Abounds in Manufacturing

The Creators Wanted Tour is in Midland, Michigan, this week, coinciding with the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on the LGPA Tour. National Association of Manufacturers Board Chair and Chairman and CEO of Dow Jim Fitterling and NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons write in Crain’s Detroit about the immense opportunities in manufacturing.

Click here for the full op-ed.

Dow Doubles Commitment to $2 Million for Manufacturing’s Largest Workforce Campaign

Investment Will Enable Creators Wanted to Build on Its Historic Impact in More Communities Across the Country

MIDLAND, Mich. – Dow, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute announced today that Dow has committed an additional $1 million to the Creators Wanted campaign. This new pledge is on top of the $1 million Dow has already contributed to the NAM and the MI’s campaign designed to educate, inspire and empower the next generation of manufacturers.

Dow’s latest financial contribution ensures Creators Wanted can continue to recruit new manufacturers online and in person throughout 2022, bringing the experience to thousands of additional students, parents, career mentors and community leaders nationwide. Creators Wanted will make its next public stop at the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational July 13–16, bringing the experience to thousands of tournament goers and students.

“It is now more important than ever to invest in America’s future manufacturing workforce,” said Dow Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair Jim Fitterling. “Not only does the fate of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness rest in significant part on our ability to build the future workforce, but we also have an opportunity to lift up more people with the promise and possibility of manufacturing careers. Dow is proud to invest an additional $1 million in the NAM and MI’s Creators Wanted campaign. We’ve already been able to inspire thousands of students through Creators Wanted and look forward to bringing this experience to Midland and other communities moving forward.”

In addition to the upcoming Creators Wanted activation at GLBI, Dow’s new round of support will bring the mobile experience to several more cities, including Chicago, Columbia, South Carolina, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, among others, throughout fall 2022 and into spring 2023. This capitalizes on the momentum from Dow’s previous contribution that helped bring Creators Wanted to six U.S. cities⁠—Columbus, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Pella, Iowa; Charlotte, North Carolina; Fort Worth, Texas; and Freeport, Texas⁠—for its inaugural fall 2021 tour.

Manufacturing in the United States today has more than 900,000 open jobs. By 2025, Creators Wanted aims to recruit 600,000 new manufacturers; increase the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25%; and increase the positive perception of the industry among parents and career mentors. The campaign features a first-of-its-kind student- and teacher-endorsed traveling immersive experience and jobs tour, which has brought together more than 5,000 students in person and recruited more than 200,000 students and career mentors to learn more about modern manufacturing careers after only seven brief stops.

“Dow’s unwavering commitment to manufacturing and Creators Wanted will allow us to do more to tackle the critical need for workers now and reach into more local communities to educate teachers, parents and other career mentors and students about rewarding careers in modern manufacturing,” said NAM President and CEO and MI Board Chair Jay Timmons. “The NAM is proud to announce our continued and strong partnership with Dow to strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and build the American manufacturing workforce of tomorrow.”

The campaign is also underpinned by sustained workforce development and education initiatives at the MI, targeting youth, veterans, women and other underrepresented communities throughout the country.

“The MI is grateful to Dow whose support bolsters our ability to achieve a critical component of our mission—to attract and develop world-class manufacturing talent,” said MI President Carolyn Lee. “With Dow’s support, the MI can expand our reach, furthering our opportunities to educate the next generation of manufacturers on the lucrative and fulfilling careers that exist in modern manufacturing for people of all backgrounds and interests.”

Through the campaign, the NAM seeks to continue its mission to remediate common misperceptions about careers in manufacturing and provide resources and opportunities that will help reduce the skills gap and improve lives. 

For more information on the campaign, visit CreatorsWanted.org and view results from previous tour stops here.

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-NAM- 

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.7 million men and women, contributes $2.71 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

-The Manufacturing Institute-

The MI grows and supports the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. The MI’s diverse initiatives support all workers in America, including women, veterans and students, through skills training programs, community building and the advancement of their career in manufacturing. As the workforce development and education partner of the NAM, the MI is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with resources necessary to solve the industry’s toughest challenges. For more information on the MI, please visit www.themanufacturinginstitute.org.

-Dow-
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth; asset integration and scale; focused innovation and materials science expertise; leading business positions; and environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership to achieve profitable growth and deliver a sustainable future. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated, science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer applications. Dow operates 104 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $55 billion in 2021. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit www.dow.com or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.


CONTACT: NAM Media Relations

Calling All Creators: Creators Wanted Live Arrives at Open Call 2022

This week, the Creators Wanted Tour Live made its eighth national tour stop—at Walmart’s 9th annual open call for entrepreneurs and manufacturers.

Drawing a crowd: On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Creators Wanted mobile experience was onsite in Bentonville, Arkansas, as 1,100 small and medium-sized business owners pitched their products to Walmart and Sam’s Club for Walmart’s Open Call 2022. The ultimate prize for the business owners? A “gold ticket” to get their products into the stores.

  • The two-day Creators Wanted stop drew more than 2,000 people, many of whom jumped at the opportunity to solve puzzles and “race to the future” in the award-winning, immersive escape room.
  • In addition to Walmart, Chart Industries, a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered equipment servicing multiple applications in clean energy and industrial gas markets, helped bring the experience to Open Call attendees and the Bentonville community.
  • The tour, which aims to generate interest in and excitement about manufacturing careers, is a joint project of the NAM and its workforce development and education partner The Manufacturing Institute.

Committed to manufacturing: The aim of bringing Creators Wanted to this year’s Open Call was to bolster the positive perception of modern manufacturing careers, recruit new manufacturers and connect entrepreneurs and manufacturers with the MI’s workforce-shortage solutions.

  • Walmart has committed to spending $350 billion on products made, grown or assembled in the U.S., in addition to the $250 billion the company pledged in 2013 to spend on similar products.
  • Total estimated job growth from these investments: 750,000 new American positions by 2031.

Who was there: MI President Carolyn Lee and Vice President of Program Execution Herb Grant were on hand to give manufacturers greater insight into the MI’s growing set of solutions to the dearth of skilled manufacturing labor.

  • Also onsite was new Creators Wanted partner FactoryFix, whose team members helped attendee manufacturers source new talent for their businesses and taught job seekers how to build rewarding careers in the industry.

The reaction: “Wherever we go with our Creators Wanted Tour—including here in Bentonville, Arkansas—students, parents, career mentors and even professionals in other industries see what manufacturing can mean and create for futures,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas. “It’s showing there’s dignity, a “cool” factor and massive reward in making things in the United States. Eyes light up.”

The reach: On the second day of the event, more than 3,000 students had already signed up online to learn more about modern manufacturing careers.

Up next: Coinciding with the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on the LPGA tour, the Creators Wanted Tour Live will make its ninth stop in Midland, Michigan, July 13–16.

This story was originally published on June 30, 2022, in Input, the National Association of Manufacturers’ morning newsletter for manufacturing executives.

Manufacturing “Is the Place to Be”: Creators Wanted Wraps Up Freeport Stop

As job recruiters rush back to campuses and career fairs nationwide, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted Tour Live continued to help manufacturers stand out in the competitive labor market this week in Freeport, Texas.

The reach: The three-day tour stop, presented by Creators Wanted Legacy Sponsor Dow, drew more than 800 students to Brazosport ISD’s new Career and Technical Education Center.

  • More than 25,000 students and career mentors signed up online to learn more about modern manufacturing careers.
  • Students came from all over the area, including from Brazoswood, Angleton, Brazosport, Columbia and Sweeny High Schools.

Who’s who: Students and teachers got access to top industry leaders, including:

  • Dow Senior Vice President of Operations, Manufacturing and Engineering John Sampson;
  • Dow Vice President of Operations for the Gulf Coast Fernando Signorini;
  • Cornerstone Building Brands Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Katy Theroux;
  • Dow Plants A&B Manufacturing Director for Texas Operations Sharon Hulgan; and
  • BASF Corporation Vice President of Operations, Polyamide & Precursors Deborah McKitten.

These leaders joined creators at their companies, as well as team members at Fluor Corporation, on livestreamed panels throughout the stop to discuss their career journeys and offer advice to students. Here are some of the themes of the event.

Inclusion and diversity: Manufacturing is “for all,” said Dow Associate Research & Development Director Kalyani Martinelango during a Creators Panel on inclusion, diversity and equity.

  • She continued: “For Dow to be competitive, we need to be inclusive. And it’s not just about diversity of gender or race … but thought, too. We have to be passionate about inclusion because it’s the right thing to do.”

Change the world, live a good life: Panelists uniformly agreed that manufacturing careers offer significant benefits.

  • From making sustainable products to driving innovations to advancing decarbonization to earning great pay, industry careers offer a lot.
  • “Manufacturing is an awesome [career] option,” said Hulgan, who oversees two plants in the company’s Texas operations. “They’re in the top 10% of income earners. … This is the place to be if you like to have a nice lifestyle.”

Calling all women: Women shouldn’t hesitate to jump into manufacturing, the panelists advised.

  • Manufacturing “is a male-dominated industry, yes,” said Dow Texas Operations Apprentice Leader for the United States Natalia Muniz Rivera. “However, we’re changing that. … Don’t be shy. Get yourself up. This diversity is what makes the future better.”

Meanwhile, the teacher- and student-endorsed immersive experience continued to win accolades.

  • One student said, “They made this [in] an actual fun and interactive way so that people can get interested and into manufacturing.”
  • Students repeatedly confirmed that the experience changed their perceptions and increased their interest in manufacturing careers.

Activities galore: It wasn’t just Dow that brought the A-team and A-game, complete with a robotic dog and lizard, to excite students.

  • Chart Industries and Turner Industries brought team members to answer student questions and help them explore manufacturing in their own backyards.
  • Brazosport College helped students chart the next steps in their career processes.
  • And FactoryFix was on hand to provide pathways to career coaching and job opportunities.

What young people are saying: In surveys and testimonials, one point came across clearly to prospective manufacturers.

  • “It’s definitely a lucrative field to be a part of,” said Dow apprentice Chris Thurman.
  • Dow apprentice Anna Green reinforced the point, pointing out that she worked with a good many people who received two-year degrees at Brazosport College and “are making six figures a year.”

The last word: “Creators Wanted shows the variety of opportunities available,” Brazosport ISD Superintendent Dan Massey told The Facts Newspaper (subscription). “There is something to meet the needs of every single student. That’s what’s amazing about this event.”

What’s next? Creators Wanted is working on securing additional financial commitments to finalize a fall tour schedule and reach more students and communities. Email [email protected] if you are interested in supporting the campaign.

This article originally appeared in the National Association of Manufacturers’ morning newsletter for manufacturing executives, Input, on April 29, 2022.

“Find Your Future”: Creators Wanted Arrives in Freeport, TX

If you want to make a good living, help change the world for the better and have a good time doing it, modern manufacturing has a job for you. That was the message relayed to local high school students this Tuesday at the premier event of the Creators Wanted Tour Live’s seventh stop, in the Freeport, Texas, area.

Inspiring students: The CW tour, a joint project of the NAM and its workforce development and education partner, The Manufacturing Institute, aims to inspire, educate and empower tomorrow’s workforce.

  • For this week’s tour stop, presented by Dow, the immersive mobile experience came to Brazosport Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Center in Clute, Texas.
  • The CTE Center, which is located near Dow’s largest manufacturing facility in the world, strives to prepare students for careers in a global economy by emphasizing career and technical education.
  • “We believe that the future of our workforce is highly dependent on the quality of public education,” said Brazosport Independent School District Superintendent Danny Massey.

Seeking difference makers: Dow Senior Vice President of Operations, Manufacturing and Engineering John Sampson highlighted the numerous opportunities available in modern manufacturing to do interesting, well-paid, life-changing work.

  • “I hope some of you—all of you—will be creators,” Sampson told students at the kickoff event. “At this point in your lives, you’re probably thinking about what you might want to major in. … I’m sure some of you might be interested in making some money, [too,] but you probably want to do more than that.”
  • “You probably want to make the world a better place, create something people want [and] have some fun. … I promise you this: We’ll always have a place for you on our team.”

 

Filling a void: Before the students rushed off to complete their “race to the future” in the mobile experience, MI President Carolyn Lee laid it out for them: Creators aren’t just wanted—they’re sorely needed to keep the world running and advancing.

  • “Without a steady stream of talented, bright young people … we can’t keep up the good work of continuously making our products,” Lee said. “[But] this is not a get-one-job-and-stay-there-for-40-years [situation]. This is a choose-your-own-adventure [career path] with continuing skills and challenges and opportunities and learning along the way.”
  • There are currently more than 850,000 open manufacturing jobs, Lee said, and by the end of this decade, modern manufacturing will require an additional 4 million workers.

Find your future: “We’re here because we know there’s something for everybody in manufacturing,” Sampson told event attendees in his closing remarks. “We hope you will find your future in modern manufacturing.”

  • Dow Vice President of Operations for the Gulf Coast Fernando Signorini echoed his colleague’s sentiment at a Creators Spotlight panel later on Tuesday. “If your desire is to go and get an education in engineering, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities,” he said.
  • “If your desire is to have a technical degree, [you’re] going to have a lot of opportunities. For a company like Dow to work, we need all the different … diversities in education and degrees. You see everything in there.”

The impact: More than 750 students are expected to tour the mobile experience this week at the CTE Center, and more than 25,000 students and career mentors in the Houston-metro area have already signed up online to learn more about modern manufacturing careers as a result of this latest tour stop.

This article originally appeared in the National Association of Manufacturers’ morning newsletter for manufacturing executives, Input on April 27, 2022.

Everything is Bigger in Texas, including Creators Wanted Freeport

Freeport, Texas – Day one of Creators Wanted Tour Live at Brazoswood Career and Technical Education Center, presented by Dow, had many highlights for Brazoswood High School and Brazosport High School students:

  • Big rewards: Students discovered for themselves the high-paying and expansive opportunities in the industry.

  • Voices of the future: Students heard from stars in manufacturing, including Sharon Hulgan, Plants A & B Manufacturing Director, Dow Texas Operations; Katy Theroux, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Cornerstone Building Brands; Deborah McKitten, Vice President Operations, Polyamide & Precursors (N-CMN/P) & Yara Freeport, LLC, BASF; Britney English, Design Engineer, Energy Solutions, Fluor; Kalyani Martinelango Associate R&D Director, Dow; Bralade Emenanjo; Kaylee Hammontree, Unit Leader, Poly 5 & 6 Operations Freeport, Dow; and Victor Hernandez, Polyethylene 3 Analytical Technician, Dow.
  • Making the future: The much-anticipated Creators Wanted immersive experience didn’t disappoint, as students busted myths, solved puzzles, cracked riddles and worked together as teams to get to the gateway to the future. They also learned more about the industry at stations by Dow, The Manufacturing Institute, FactoryFix, Chart Industries and Turner Industries. And they met a robotic four-legged friend.

 

Watch the video recap.

 

Careers On Track with Union Pacific Railroad

Union Pacific Railroad is promoting opportunities for women who might not have thought about a career in rail previously—and they’ve got big plans to do it. Union Pacific intends to double the number of women in its workforce within the next 10 years. The initiative that works in tandem with Creators Wanted is called Careers on Track and is designed to inspire more women and youth to pursue modern industry careers through workforce development and career solutions. Careers offer great pay, great camaraderie and the chance to learn one of America’s most complex logistical networks inside out. There are lots of opportunities for travel within the 23 states in which the railroad operates. Union Pacific’s motto is “Building America” and that’s exactly what their team gets to do everyday. But don’t just take our word for it. Click play below to hear the stories an inspiring trio of UP women – Tina, Snigdha, and Belin – and then let’s go create the future!

Creators Wanted Launches New Manufacturing Career Pathways Resource for Students

Creators Wanted, the manufacturing industry’s largest campaign to build the workforce of tomorrow, has launched a beta version for a new online manufacturing career pathways resource for students. A joint effort of the National Association of Manufacturers, the largest manufacturing trade association in the United States, and The Manufacturing Institute, the 501(c)(3) workforce development and education partner of the NAM, the hub of resources looks to match newfound interest in manufacturing careers with jobs and pathways to those careers across the country. Two important notes:

  • On this beta version, users can can click on “Explore New Frontiers,” “Engineer and Design the Future” and “Do Hands-On Work” to preview stories of creators and experience the dynamic layouts ready to be populated with more stories as companies continue to join the Creators Wanted campaign.
  • Site users can click on the “View Career Opportunities” bar in the upper righthand corner and see the job, internship, apprenticeship, certification and degree resources the campaign has curated based on the first five stops of the Creators Wanted Tour Live, the parent, teacher and student-endorsed traveling immersive experience, featuring manufacturing exhibits, demos, hands-on activities, mentorship and education and job resources to inspire, educate and empower a new generation of creators in the United States.

“If manufacturers, colleges, universities, technical and vocational schools, summer camp programs and others have resources that they’d recommend including on Creators Connect, we encourage them to submit them on the main resources page,” said Chrys Kefalas, Chief Strategist of Creators Wanted. “We aim to be the industry’s source for internship, apprenticeship, certification and degree resources—a space currently without any consolidated information for students, parents, career mentors and emerging workers. We’re changing that, thanks to the supporters of Creators Wanted.”

Click here to explore Creators Connect.

Spotlight on Scottsdale: Creators Wanted Comes to Arizona

It’s back! Following a four-month break, the award-winning Creators Wanted Live Tour hit Scottsdale, Arizona, this week as manufacturers gathered nearby for the NAM board meeting. The attendee response: pure excitement.

Having a blast: Hundreds of manufacturing leaders and teens from the Scottsdale Unified School District and Phoenix-area YMCA chapters attended the Creators Wanted tour stop.

  • Students spent time “racing to the future” in the immersive mobile experience, exploring the information hubs and exhibits by FactoryFix, Benchmark and Thermo Fisher Scientific, meeting and chatting with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and more.

Welcome news: The mobile experience, a project of the NAM and its workforce development and education partner The Manufacturing Institute, shared some big news during its stop in Arizona: the president, CEO and owner of Creators Wanted sponsor Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Lou Kennedy, committed to contribute and raise $1 million for the member-driven initiative to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

  • In recognition of Kennedy’s exceptional leadership in manufacturing, the NAM presented her with the Manufacturing Icon Award.

Big impact: The tour stop in Scottsdale resulted in 25,000 new student, emerging-worker and career-mentor email subscribers—all individuals who will help manufacturers fill the talent pipeline.

CNBC coverage: Snap-on Incorporated Chairman and CEO and NAM Executive Committee member Nick Pinchuk went on “Squawk on the Street” Tuesday to talk about Creators Wanted and strengthening the supply chain. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons talked to CNBC the same day.

  • “One of the reasons I’m here with the National Association of Manufacturers is because right behind me is our initiative to help fill the skills gap in manufacturing,” Pinchuk said on the ground in Arizona. “One of the problems is [people] view manufacturing as something that other people’s kids do. Well, this mobile interactive unit right behind me is a big factor in that. … It tells you, ‘Boy, manufacturing is not dark, dumb and dirty, as some people think. It’s a cool place to be.’”
  • Timmons told CNBC he sees more manufacturing returning to the U.S. from offshore—and that the industry will figure out how to overcome current challenges. “Manufacturers can rise to the solution,” he said. “We always do.”

Op-ed: Timmons penned an op-ed for The Arizona Republic in which he termed the next 10 years “a manufacturing decade.”

  • Timmons wrote that for U.S. manufacturing to continue to make “game-changing advances that improve the quality of life for everybody,” Congress must move forward with pending “global competitiveness” legislation, restore “sensible [tax] incentives” that foster research and development and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

What’s next: Creators Wanted stops next in Freeport, Texas, beginning on April 25, presented by Dow. The campaign is also working to raise additional funding to sustain a fall tour in 2022.

Want to join Kennedy in broadening the reach of Creators Wanted? Email Creators Wanted Finance Director Barret Kedzior at [email protected].

Originally published on March 11, 2022, in Input, the NAM’s morning newsletter for manufacturing executives.