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NAM Reiterates Call for National Education Reform

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is warning that the reform of America's public school system is imperative to manufacturers' ability to compete in a global economy. The call from NAM President John Engler comes on the 25th anniversary of A Nation at Risk, a National Commission on Excellence in Education report that condemned America's "mediocre" educational performance. "It is clear to the nation's manufacturers that America is still `a nation at risk' when it comes to preparing young people for real life and real jobs," says Engler. "The timing could not be worse. As competition intensifies in the global marketplace, U.S. manufacturers are having a tough time finding qualified people to replace the retiring baby boom generation in increasingly high-tech and sophisticated jobs." NAM reports that 80 percent of manufacturers report shortages of qualified workers. The organization suggests that school systems must offer alternative pathways to graduation that will encourage students to stay in school, and is calling on the education and business communities to work more closely together to align educational programs with the skills necessary for 21st-century manufacturing careers.

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