The state of Virginia became the 11th area in America to embrace the manufacturing careers and economic development campaign “Dream It. Do It.”, as a coalition of business leaders, educators and others with an interest in the economic future of Virginia gathered in Williamsburg on October 29 for the launch of “Dream It. Do It.” Virginia.
“Virginia is a role model for states that seek to improve their global competitiveness by creating a skilled workforce,” said National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) president and CEO John Engler. “America is in a worldwide race for skilled talent. More than 80 percent of NAM members are having difficulty finding qualified employees for today’s high-tech workplace – and this problem is getting worse as the Baby Boom generation retires. We must inspire more young people to prepare for and pursue careers in manufacturing if we want to remain globally competitive.”
Developed by the NAM and its research, education and workforce arm, The Manufacturing Institute, “Dream It. Do It.” builds strong regional alliances to attract young people to careers in advanced manufacturing and provide them with related educational and training opportunities. Since the 2005 pilot campaign in Kansas City, “Dream It. Do It.” has spread to Virginia, Nebraska, Indiana and regions in Ohio, Texas, Washington State, Arizona and Illinois, with more in the pipeline. National partners include The College Board, Monster, Skills USA and the American Association of Community Colleges.
The Virginia campaign is co-sponsored by the Virginia Council on Advanced Technology Skills, the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Virginia Biotechnology Association in partnership with the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute.
Across Virginia and all 50 states, the skilled worker shortage is reflected in the national 2005 Skills Gap Report commissioned by the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute:
- More than 80 percent of manufacturers reported an overall shortage of qualified workers that cuts across industry sectors;
- 90 percent of manufacturers reported a moderate to severe shortage of qualified skilled production employees such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors, technicians;
- 83 percent reported shortages are currently impacting their ability to serve customers.
““Dream It. Do It.” helps young people identify what they are passionate about and find fulfilling careers in advanced manufacturing, where the average annual compensation nationally is close to $70,000 – 20 percent higher than in the rest of the economy,” said Phyllis Eisen, senior vice president of The Manufacturing Institute and the creator of “Dream It. Do It.” “This program is inspiring young people across the country to prepare for their dream job in the high-tech workplace. Today’s launch in Virginia brings us one step closer to making ‘Dream It. Do It.’ a national campaign to help America close the skills gap and develop the next generation of manufacturing talent.”
“Thousands of high-tech manufacturing jobs are opening in Virginia, and they will require significant skills training and certification if our industry is to remain competitive,” said Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association. “’Dream It. Do It.’ Virginia will help align education, workforce and economic growth strategies statewide so that more individuals can be aware of and participate in the great opportunities afforded by careers in advanced manufacturing.”
In a newly published study, “Virginia’s Skilled Trades Gap,” the Virginia Manufacturers Association reports there will be an estimated 46,870 skilled trade jobs available in the state from 2007 through 2010, with nearly a quarter of these job openings driven by retirements. Manufacturing technicians are expected to experience the largest number of openings, accounting for more than 22,000 of the available jobs.
For more information about “Dream It. Do It.”, visit www.dreamit-doit.com. For more information about America’s skilled workforce, visit www.nam.org/skilledworkforce.