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NAM, SkillsUSA Partner on Worker Development Program

A new national partnership to prepare more students for career leadership in advanced manufacturing and help meet the industry's growing need for highly skilled employees was announced June 29 by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), its Manufacturing Institute, and SkillsUSA at the SkillsUSA Awards Ceremony in Kansas City, Mo.

"America can't compete without skilled workers," said John Engler, president and chief executive officer of the NAM. "Our `Dream It. Do It.' manufacturing careers and economic development campaign is creating strong regional alliances to raise awareness among young people about manufacturing's high-paying and rewarding careers. The SkillsUSA network will enable us to reach more students directly in their schools with fun, hands-on programs that teach teamwork and other important workplace skills. Skills USA is a proven leader in teaching employability and leadership skills to students and a natural partner for our `Dream It. Do It.' campaign."

"This alliance is a clear sign that the NAM values career and technical education and its critical role in the country's economic success," said Tim Lawrence, executive director, SkillsUSA. "The SkillsUSA association serves over 130 occupational areas, many of them in manufacturing. We have over 41 years of experience helping students learn employability skills. We look forward to working more closely with the manufacturing community to create mentoring programs and teach students across the country about career and personal success."

Nationally, the skilled worker shortage is reflected in the 2005 Skills Gap Report commissioned by the NAM and its Manufacturing Institute. The gap will increase with the retirement of the Baby Boom generation and rapidly advancing workplace technology. Among the findings of the 2005 Skills Gap Survey of manufacturers nationwide:

* Skills shortages are having a widespread impact on manufacturers' abilities to achieve production levels, increase productivity, and meet customer demands.
* More than 80 percent of respondents indicated that they are experiencing a shortage of qualified workers overall.
* Nearly half of all respondents indicated their current employees have inadequate basic employability skills such as attendance and work ethic.

"Only a handful of organizations are positioned to positively affect America's future skilled work force. SkillsUSA is one of them. We are proud to partner with SkillsUSA to prepare the next generation of manufacturing entrepreneurs and leaders," said Phyllis Eisen, senior vice president, The Manufacturing Institute, the research, education and workforce arm of the NAM.

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