Manufacturer press congress on personnel development

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Manufacturers are working hard to develop training and development programs that can help empower our industry, fill the skill gap, and prepare new workers for exciting, fulfilling careers.

Last week Leah Curry, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, urged Congress to address those priorities when she testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Safety at Work. Curry is also a recipient of the Manufacturing Institute’s 2013 STEP Ahead Awards, which recognizes outstanding female leaders in the industry, and is a long-time member of the MI Board of Advisors.

In her presentation, Curry used her own experience to illustrate how apprenticeship programs can help prepare workers for a new career. Here are some of the highlights.

Providing early exposure: “I came up with the idea of ​​technology by chance after I had already started serious studies. If I had attended engineering or STEM programs before college, I would have ended up on my way a lot [sooner]. Since 2010, Toyota has allocated $ 3.5 million to 184 K-12 schools in Indiana and across the country to implement Project Lead the Way programs that provide students with more STEM education and career opportunities. ”

Emphasis on practical experience: “Combining classroom learning with workplace experience is a powerful way of learning, especially in manufacturing. In states where Toyota has manufacturing facilities, Toyota has worked with local community colleges to develop the hugely successful Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program. “

  • “At the national level, around 400 employers bundle talent from 32 local associations in 12 states in the so-called Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education or FAME USA. FAME USA is now led by The Manufacturing Institute and is rapidly becoming America’s premier domestic manufacturing educational network. “

Promote diversity: “We cannot overestimate the importance of intentionality in order to bring historically underrepresented people into STEM professions. Toyota is partnering with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity on its Make the Future program for advanced manufacturing careers. “

The way forward: In her statement, Curry emphasized two critical policy recommendations.

  • Combine education and training: First, Curry asked Congress to consider staff development policy in combination with education policy. “If education policies are not flexible enough to allow students to explore different avenues,” Curry said, “students may end up bypassing even the best people development opportunities.”
  • Re-authorize WIOA: Second, she called for the law on innovation and opportunities for workers to be re-approved. “In doing so, the committee should continue to enable greater private sector participation in the labor system,” said Curry. “The FAME USA system proves that employers want and can take personnel development to a new level.”

Learn more: Click here to learn more about the FAME USA program founded by Toyota and now operated by MI.


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