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.

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.

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!

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.

Making an Impact: Tour Live 2021 In Review

The National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted campaign took the Creators Wanted Tour Live in 2021 to Ohio, South Carolina, Iowa, North Carolina and Texas–with more than 3,500 attendees and 2,700 students participating in the mobile experience, while building an email roster of more than 150,000 people interested in manufacturing careers.

We’re progressing to the campaign goals of recruiting 600,000 new manufacturers, as well as increasing the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and increasing the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50% from 27%. And we’re just getting started.