Manufacturing Talk Radio Season 1 Episode 2
Speaker: Welcome, everybody. It’s time for Manufacturing Talk Radio, the only show that takes a look at the obstacles and opportunities open to small and mid-sized enterprises to manufacture here in America with your host Tim Grady and Lewis Weiss. Hey guys. How are you?
Tim Grady: Welcome to today’s show. We’re pleased to welcome Paul Gerbino and Beth Goodbaum of ThomasNet News to Manufacturing Talk Radio. They are here to talk about a well publicized issue, the brain drain in manufacturing, and what the industry is doing to solve it. You will hear more from them on why manufacturing’s biological clock is ticking in just a moment. Before that, I would like to have Lew give us a recap of the last show. Lewis?
Lewis Weiss: Thanks, Tim. I would like to do a postscript to our November 2nd show and give everybody a sense of what we did then. We had Brad Holcomb, the committee chair of the Institute of Supply Management, he was our guest. We had a terrific discussion, lots of stats and information, and more importantly explanations of the components of the report that perhaps a lot of our listeners were not even aware of, that would give good information and insight perhaps to drive their business a bit differently than they do now. If you haven’t heard that entire show from two weeks ago, you can go to www.mfgtalkradio.com. Go to the previous show button and either listen to it online, or easily download the show and listen to it whenever you have the time.
There’s a lot of important information for you and your business. Don’t miss it. The main breakaways from that, the takeaways from that show were five primary areas of data that make up a significant aspect of the report on business. They are new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventory of raw materials at the manufacturing level. Listen to the whole show and get all the facts. One final note I would like to make, I’d like to say thanks to all the kind comments that we got from listeners of our first show on November 2nd.
We’re thrilled that it was found to be direct, informative and important. We’ll continue to address our small to medium size enterprise issues as Manufacturing Talk Radio grows and brings more valuable insight to our listeners. We already have a growing list of impressive guests, business consultants, experts, business owners, who will be heard on MFG Talk Radio in the near future. On that note, Tim? Take it away.
Tim Grady: Thanks, Lewis. Let’s talk with Paul Gerbino. He is the publisher of ThomasNet News, the industry’s most comprehensive online source of product news, information, business trends and analysis. He has been a publishing executive with Thomas since 1995, and we’re looking forward to hearing more about the big impact that his company has on the manufacturing community. Paul, how are you today?
Paul Gerbino: Doing great and thanks for having me.
Tim Grady: You bet. And with you is Beth Goodbaum. She’s the editor of ThomasNet News Career Journal, where she covers the change in career opportunities within manufacturing, the ways technology has been changing the landscape, the job landscape and the strategies that employers are using to attract and keep talented people. An experienced journalist, she joined ThomasNet in 2009. Beth, we’re really looking forward to some of your comments. Welcome.
Beth Goodbaum: Thank you so much for having me.
Tim Grady: Paul, tell me a little bit about ThomasNet, the history. I know you guys were known for some years as the big green books. You have gone through quite a transition, a metamorphosis of the business. Give us a couple of minutes of the 125-year history of ThomasNet.
Paul Gerbino: Thank you very much, Tim, and yes, I mean, we were the big green books. I remember growing up as a kid my father was a procurement manager for a major construction firm, and going into his office and seeing these 35 green volumes that were decorating his credenza behind him. So it was definitely something that influenced me when I was a kid, and now I’m working for the company. But essentially ThomasNet is an information and technology company that connects buyers and sellers in the industrial B to B commercial space. We sort of jokingly like to say that we are a 115-year old internet company. That’s because we have been around for 115 years and we’re now an internet company, but what’s really nice is we’ve had the same mission today that we had when we first started the company in 1898.
What has changed is how we do it, right? Back then it was print. Now today it is completely online. I think one of the opportunities that we have in the role that we’re in is we have an opportunity to talk everyday to buyers and sellers, to really understand what are the buyers and specifiers’ information needs? How do they look for suppliers? And also we get a chance to talk to a lot of suppliers, whether it be manufacturers, distributors, service companies, in terms of what are their needs to grow their business, and then work on programs that help them reach out to these buyers and deliver what the buyer needs to do their jobs.
I was listening a little bit in your intro when you talked about our history with your first show you interviewed the executive from ISM. A little unknown fact is Thomas in the form of Thomas Register helped ISM get started. It was a gentleman by the name of Elwood B. Hendrix, and B as for bachelor, so don’t ask me how he got the name Bachelor. But he was a sales person for the old Thomas Registers, and he saw a need to get all the buyers out there together. And what he did in the New York area was to pull together the buyers from the local community and start to talk about how they can create an organization that would help elevate the procurement process, right? Very much of a procurement-focused type of organization.
And actually the irony was that it took a sales person to get the procurement people together, but in the end, what was born out of that was what is today the ISM’s New York Chapter, and then eventually was the national organization. So we have a lot of history of working with both sides of that coin, and as you pointed out we were Thomas Register. And again, I think we would bring together another directory company that we had were Thomas regional directories. We brought all that together to create ThomasNet.com.
Tim Grady: Oh, okay. Terrific. Well, that’s a lot to bring together and to make the next evolution. Now, I understand that you have just completed an industry market barometer report and some survey findings, and I know that Beth was very much involved in that. Beth, what’s the good news coming out of that report for manufacturers?
Beth Goodbaum: Well, our industry market barometer highlights very important issues and trends for the North American manufacturing sector, and more than 1,200 respondents small to mid-size were part of the survey, and these companies are really the hotbeds of technology and innovation and they are growing and reinventing themselves. And one of the major findings were that most, eight out of 10 are actually investing back into their businesses to become more efficient to meet these growth projections to increase manufacturing capacity and upgrading facilities and 74% recognized that their workers are their most important assets.
Tim Grady: But there’s something in here that I want to make sure the audience hears about the age of who those workers are.
Paul Gerbino: Most of the workers are 45 to 64. They are that baby boomer generation which means that many of them are preparing, if not already starting their retirements. The challenge that creates and I think this is really what the IMB study really highlighted was an absolute brain drain that’s starting to develop. In other words, in that group of professionals, between that age, the baby boomers, between the ages of 45 and 65 you have a lot of wealth of information, a lot of knowledge, stuff that you wouldn’t find in an employee training manual. And as these people retire, you have a challenge.
You’re losing all that knowledge and you don’t have a younger generation to pass that onto. So that’s becoming a real problem for many of these manufacturers. The IMB study that, and it is a unique study where we do talk to the manufacturing base. And part of the challenge that I’m sharing with you comes from the fact that last year’s study really highlighted the fact that manufacturing, as a career, needed a brand makeover. So there’s a real need to start to get the millennial, the 18 to 32 year old generation who are either coming out of high school or coming out of college without a job, or in-between jobs, to start to look at manufacturing as a really exciting place to work.
Tim Grady: You do study like this you have good news and you have bad news. What’s the bad news in this?
Paul Gerbino: Well, the bad news is there is a real disconnect between the need for manufacturers to start to bring in this new generation and their sense of urgency around making it happen. As I said earlier, we have a generation that is graying out, that is getting older, yet when you talk to these companies eight out of 10 are investing back in their business to become more efficient, to meet their growth expectations. As Beth said earlier, 74% see that the workers are probably their most important asset to helping them achieve that growth.
And in fact, when you really get into this survey you find that 42% have immediate needs right now, 60% of those are looking for engineers, 59% want skilled trade workers, as well as 53% seeking other types of manufacturing and production type personnel. But again, with this brain drain, with this workforce graying out, manufacturers need to address this challenge. Because today, I think, we did our survey the 25% or less of those surveyed had millennial as part of their workforce, right? So you have a real issue that is just going to be getting worse as time goes on.
Tim Grady: Okay. That certainly makes a lot of sense now. I may have just missed the number. What percentage of the workforce today is millennials, and really, what needs to change in that balance? Certainly the industry is trying to respond, but you can’t walk into the offices and fire all the gray hairs and hire all the millennials. So what needs to happen in this process?
Paul Gerbino: Yeah, and less than 25% today of the workforce are the millennials, which means that 75% are in that baby boom generation. Again, as these people start to retire we’re not filling these spots fast enough. I mean, when you look at the available jobs in the manufacturing space, I’m hearing numbers anywhere from 200,000 of available jobs that was in a recent Fortune Magazine and some associations saying there are over 600,000 jobs that are still unfilled in the manufacturing space. So when you have these kinds of jobs available, it impedes the ability for the manufacturers to grow their business. So the negative of that is obviously that as demand continues to grow for American-made goods, and as the need of these manufacturers to increase their productivity and increase their output, if they don’t fill these spots quickly, eventually what’s going to happen is that they are not going to be able to meet this demand. Well, the demand is not going to go away. So if people can’t get it in North America they are going to go outside across the two oceans to try to find solutions and sources for what they need.
Tim Grady: Sure and that only makes sense. And so is there an issue, I think I read Beth in your report, of what’s coming out of high school or college in terms of the education level of students, where manufacturing can’t fill 600,000 jobs? That’s a lot of jobs.
Beth Goodbaum: That’s a lot of jobs, and one of the major issues right now that I’m hearing from manufacturers as I travel around the country, attending conferences and events and really getting some insight in what these managers, human resources executives have to say is there’s a major skill gap, but the cognitive skills are really not where they need to be in order to succeed and to be competitive. And we’re talking about the fundamental mathematics skills, the reading skills and just the writing skills are really not up to par with even other countries. So this is part of the big challenge in filling the skill gap.
Tim Grady: I have seen that on a local level as well where there is reading, writing and arithmetic were what I grew up on as a gray hair, and apparently for whatever reason education has drifted from that, and now it’s affecting our manufacturing base which is going to hit our GDP. So we’ve got a a big gap to fill here.
Lewis Weiss: I think we need to talk for a moment when we get back from our break on how organizations like yourself can make manufacturing a cool industry to be in. College doesn’t do it for everybody, but maybe some other vocational training could make it cool in that there is so much technology today involved in manufacturing. So on that note, I think that we are ready for a break.
Speaker: And I just want to remember to tell everybody that our sponsor today is All Metals Forge Group, the one place best known for open dye forgings and seamless rolled rings in alloy, carbon, stainless and tool steels, nickel, aluminum, titanium and copper. To learn more about All Metals and Forge Groups simply visit their website at steelforge.com, or send up your request for quote. That’s steelforge.com. And now back to Lewis, Tim and a rest of the gang.
Lewis Weiss: I would like to go back a little bit into some of the discussion that we just had a moment ago. Being that Thomas and ISM has been playing in the same proverbial sandbox for many decades, and your missions and concepts are fairly similar, that is education, information, statistics and business conclusions, is there any effort from both the organizations or perhaps pool your resources and come up with an effort to find a combined result in dealing with the employment issue for the small to medium sized enterprise?
Paul Gerbino: Sure. And I think today we’re working very closely with Association of Manufacturing Technologies, AMT, around this whole skills gap issue. And again, what we want to do, and Lewis, I think you use a term which I really want to sort of focus in on the concept of cool. I think you’re right. We need to inject the cool factor back into manufacturing careers, and we’re working again with organizations like AMT and we’re consistently talking with ISM, both of the local as well as the national level around how we can get the information out around these opportunities. With ISM it is around supply chain type of roles, and that’s in the procurement logistics space as well as with AMT on the manufacturing side in terms of what IMT has coined is “the smart force”, the technically savvy workforce that works in manufacturing.
So that is something that I think we need to do, and use that word, cool more often. Because I mean the reality is these companies, these manufacturers are hotbed of innovation and technology. When you look at the fact, they suffer from the perception that they are dirty jobs, grease under the fingernail type positions, sweat shops and a whole set of misperceptions, but in fact when you walk around a lot of these facilities, the floors are actually clean, right? The workers are walking around with PDAs. They’re interfacing with computer terminals to make sure that the machines are running properly. So again, it’s the injection of the cool factor back into the manufacturing career.
Lewis Weiss: I just received an email from Greg from Houston who has a question for you, Paul. Greg wants to know where he can get more information on perhaps how Thomas or others might be able to help, and give him more insight into training and perhaps redirecting his career.
Paul Gerbino: Well, first of all I would say go to our new jobs board ThomasNet Jobs.com, where you can find the latest jobs in manufacturing that are available today, whether they are also in the supply chain area and operation area. You can go to our career journal, which is ThomasNet.com/journal/career to get the latest information on the steps that you can take to improve your positioning in the marketplace, in terms of what kind of training you can go after, what kind of institutions or even companies offer internships to learn new skills. Those are two — probably the first places that I would go. You can also contact me, and I will give you my email address at the end of the show. But if you need it now it’s firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to direct you to information resources and opportunities that come our way.
Lewis Weiss: That’s terrific. I appreciate that. We have another email that came in. We haven’t really touched on this topic yet, so maybe this is a good segue into that topic. Madeline from Chicago wants to know more about job equality in the manufacturing workplace for women. Perhaps Beth might have more information available on that with regards to women work equality. Beth?
Beth Goodbaum: Fantastic. Thank you and this is a subject I’m very passionate about. And when we look at why women aren’t in manufacturing, why more women aren’t in manufacturing, we see gender stereotyping, discrimination on the job and pay gap as some of the key factors. And recently the US congress joint economic community sent out a report that emphasizes several solutions, which is basically to increase STEM, which is science, technology, engineering and mathematics education participation and proficiency for girls as early as elementary school to get it in their minds that this is a good field to be in. It’s a competitive salary range. It’s a great field and a good trajectory, and then that to prepare women with skills and knowledge that are in demand, which means prepare them for high tech roles through vocational and community college programs. But on that note it’s important to increase the rank of women in leadership roles and this is 2013. It’s important that they are on the trajectory, that they are well aware that they can get into a role where they can become a CEO, where they can become a top executive and they’re not just merely an assistant anymore, and encourage employers to develop mentoring programs, which I cannot emphasize enough.
Mentoring is really the key to the skill gap in general, but for young women more so, because they need to know that all areas of manufacturing should have role models and provide guidance to them. And one of my suggestions is to just go and talk to other women if you’re interested in learning more about manufacturing. I just got back from a woman in manufacturing summit in Dearborn, Michigan, where there were hundreds of executives on hand to talk about really what it takes to be authentic in a workplace. You don’t necessarily always have to act like a man, and that’s where some of the misconceptions lie, where you have to be super aggressive and you have to be in a certain way and it’s not really the case; to be authentic, to really take tips from other women and go to conferences such as these women in manufacturing summit, which was started basically by a small group of women from the Precision Metalforming Association in 2009. And since then, it has grown to hundreds of members, and there were new people on the scene, students that were trying to get involved, and just to listen to what others have to say. That’s a really great way to get involved.
.Lewis Weiss: I have a follow up question regarding women in manufacturing. Our Department of Commerce is now headed by Penny Pritzker, who has just been named, I think, back in June by Obama. Do you know anything about her feelings about and what she’s looking to bring to the plate in terms of the Department of Commerce, and what they are looking to do to help not only women, but men in manufacturing?
Beth Goodbaum: I don’t know about her specific initiatives, but like I mentioned with the Commerce report – the Congress report that they are just issuing these reports with steps, a step-by-step basis, and you can even look up my website on the Career Journal. I have many info graphics out on this just to increase leadership roles, but I don’t know especially about her specific initiative.
Lewis Weiss: Perhaps we’re going to have to look into that a little closer for another show.
Beth Goodbaum: Definitely.
Lewis Weiss: Tim?
Tim Grady: Yeah. I know that Paul touched on technology on the workplace, and Lewis, I think when you gave me a tour I even saw this on your shop floor. Because before my vision was guys with anvils and hammers, that’s not what I saw. I saw mechanization. I saw robots being handled by laptop. Isn’t that what you’re seeing in forging these days?
Lewis Weiss: I’ve toured around not only our own shop, but other shops throughout the country, and actually some shops out of the country, the forging industry today they’re becoming huge computers. A six-man crew on a hammer at one time was very ordinary. Now you have two, one who operates the joystick and the other one who is flip flopping a 200-pound piece of hot metal. So yeah, there has been a lot of new technology coming to the forefront. And I mean, there’s always going to be a heat them and hit them industry, but we’ll be able to do it more efficiently, and perhaps with less people because of the advancement of technology. But yes, there are many changes happening within the forging industry.
Tim Grady: Paul, when you’re talking about technology, and Lewis just touched on a very important point, I know I was involved in the very early stages of the computer revolution and everybody thought that the computers would take out all the administrative staff. In fact, it took out the middle market staff and it took out a lot of the operators. What are manufacturers doing? I mean, we’ve got 600,000 jobs to fill. What kind of jobs are they?
Paul Gerbino: The jobs are all through the organization. I mean, they’re again, working on the machines. I mean, you look at whether you’re a plastic injection molder or a metal forging business. It is the kind of jobs that require certain skill sets that need to be trained, and again I think what happen is manufacturers can get involved in the whole skill set training process. I will give you a good example. We’ve got a company by the name of Rodon, a plastic injection molder out of Hatfield, Pennsylvania and what they’re doing is they’re getting involved with local community college and technical schools to start to attract those millennials.
They are working with other manufacturers in their space to really develop these kinds of programs where they can position manufacturing to the millennials as a real exciting opportunity, but also give them a clear path to getting the job. Because I think the bottom line is technology doesn’t necessarily mean that jobs are going away, what it means that jobs are evolving and jobs are changing, and Lewis, I think you mentioned it a little bit earlier is when you walk or now they are driving on these little golf carts with their little PDAs making sure machines are running well, and you’re looking at the robotics, you’re looking at the automation, you’re looking at the material starting, there’s raw material coming through the other end as a finished product, a finished component.
So it really is about getting the opportunity to train these millennials, get them into the workforce as quickly as we can, so they can also pick up from the baby boomers who are in these roles and learn from them also. I think another good example is a company by the name of Taylor Labeled products. To Beth’s point about STEM education, and Tim, I think you also talked about that a little bit is that what they are doing is they are looking in their community and they’re identifying at risk students at the high school level, all right. These are young people who are at risk because of either personal home situations or economic situations in their communities, and what they have done is to develop an internship where these at risk students come in and learn skills. They have also built a classroom in their facilities so that these kids also keep their eye on the ball with their own schoolwork, right? So that they do graduate from high school, so they come out of this program with not only a high school diploma, but also with some really good manufacturing skills that they can then turn into opportunities for employment later on.
Tim Grady: That’s great information, Paul. And a quick question for Beth. Paul, you mentioned schools and what schools are doing, gave us a couple of examples. Beth, is this in your tours of America, what you’re seeing or/and recommending for manufacturers to get involved with the high school, with the trade school and the local colleges and let’s make a connect here?
Beth Goodbaum: It’s essential to make that connection, and a lot of these mid to small size manufacturers are actually investing in automation, and it’s important, like Paul just mentioned, to note that robots and automation are more of our co-collaborators rather than our competitors. We have to emphasize that point. And recruiting talent with tech is a major initiative now. It helps employees stay more engaged with the job at hand. If students are not interested in an early age, then they are less likely to go into these types of fields. It gives them the opportunity to be at the forefront of an evolving industry, and it keeps companies more competitive. This is the best way to get the tech in your shop floor and to make sure that you retain the employees that are essential for closing the skills gap.
Tim Grady: On a slightly separate note, the Senior Core of Retired Executive, SCORE, which is a volunteer group that works with the government, they primarily work with small to medium-sized companies to give advice and help them in structuring their companies and giving them new ways to do business. Are they at all a potential factor in regards to the employment of this issue that we’re now dealing with, the shortfall of employees?
Paul Gerbino: Yeah. When you talk about retired individuals, I mean, even the respondents to our surveys were executives, C level VPs. Most of them were over 45 years old, right? And many of them were moving up and the 35% were the 55 to 65-year-olds. There is an aging of even the executives, and there’s a lot of resources that they have in terms of the experiences they have, knowledge they have, and I think it’s a great idea to involve those kinds of organizations; especially those executives that came out of manufacturing, and to sit down and work with them and create these groups with other manufacturers, get involved with the local schools, again, whether it’s a high school, whether it is the community colleges or the technical schools and we should be also evangelizing this to the boards of education.
In other words, get involved and have these executives speak in front of the boards of education to talk about the importance of STEM education, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. So that what happens is you start to not only make the board of education aware, but hopefully, through these efforts, making the parents aware. So there’s a lot of — I’m sure that SCORE can get very, very involved with something like this in working with these manufacturers, working with the community, to really start to do that brand makeover we talked about earlier.
Tim Grady: Paul, I just want to kind of go back on a point that you made before, which I think is pretty important and that is the risk here is that if manufacturing doesn’t respond, and really, if manufacturing in concert with our educational system doesn’t respond, then the jobs moving overseas across the two oceans isn’t anybody’s fault but our own. Would that be right?
Paul Gerbino: Oh, absolutely. I think the challenge that we have is that — I always tease people around this office that sometimes as humans we practice avoidance behavior. So we’re not dealing with the reality that we have this aging population that’s amongst our workforce, and that if we don’t start filling them with the millennials, and then, later on, those that who are in high school or grade school, then we’re going to have a real problem. Because Tim, to your point, we have done a great job in attracting manufacturing back to the US, right? Pushing this concept of buying American. So we’re increasing the demand for American goods, right? And we’re increasing the demand for solutions coming from our own soil. If we can’t meet that demand, the demand is not going to go away. So the demand will start to look elsewhere, overseas, for solutions, and once you get back in the habit of buying overseas again you now have to – you’re going to risk losing the opportunity long term.
Lewis Weiss: Before the break, Paul, I just want to leave you with one question and you’ll have about 60 seconds to think about it, which I don’t think you will have a problem. What’s going to happen in 10 to 15 years from now if we don’t solve this issue? And on that point we’re going for a break.
Speaker: And now back to our show with our special guests and our special hosts, Lewis and Tim.
Lewis Weiss: A good 30 seconds worth of think time. During that time also we had a really very important email that came in from France that I would like also to read to you. Perhaps I should read it first and then let you answer the question about the 10 to 15-year period. So let me just turn my computer here. This is from Royce from France. “The German way of mass apprenticeship schemes is recognized as one of the reasons for the success in manufacturing quality exports. Has anything similar been tried in the US? Is there any reason that it couldn’t be? Couldn’t this be a way to fill all those jobs that are going?” And again, that’s from Royce Metallurgies, from France. So now you have two questions from me.
Paul Gerbino: I’ll answer the first one you asked before the break. What is the situation 10 to 15 years from now, and I think studies say that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. So the bottom line is that if we don’t start grabbing them now, if we don’t start getting their attention now, by the time they make up 75% of their workforce they are already going to be established in whatever direction they decide to go and I think that creates a real sense of urgency. To Royce’s question, again, I have shared two different examples of companies who have taken it upon themselves to develop this sort of mentorship, of internship type program, one at the millennial level, one at the high school level, and I think that slowly but surely you’re starting to see more companies starting to really take a hard look at how do you create these kinds of internships to bring these workers aboard. And I think Beth, maybe you have had some experience during all this time?
Beth Goodbaum: Sure. I just attended the Innovate, Educate Summit. This is in DC, and this is basically a merge of policy makers. We had educators, human resource directors as well as CEOs of top companies, and it’s something that’s been tried here in the US. People are definitely taking advantage of the apprenticeship model, the German model. Seaman Corporation, for example, it’s a large size company, but the president and CEO was there and spoke about how that has been effective, because you’re essentially training the top talent and they don’t just look, they look for the best talent, so they recruit, they are often paid and they’re learning at the same time. This is very effective.
Paul Gerbino: I think we ourselves have also tried to instill some excitement around manufacturing as a career. This past September, we awarded $30,000 in scholarships. We’ve awarded 30 students $1,000 scholarships who are going into engineering programs, but also supply chain management, two-year colleges as well as technical schools. And I remember we received a thank you note from a young woman, and you talk about women in manufacturing who thanked us for the scholarship, because it allowed her to buy the books she needed so that she could learn to weld. She was going to technical school for welding, and I think when you read these kinds of stories, they’re made aware of the opportunities through these apprenticeships, through these kinds of programs, if it is put into their radar, there are kids that get very, very excited about welding, around making something, right? Lewis, I mean, I’m sure you experienced this in your own facilities. When you see an end product come out of that process, right, you see something you’ve made, you’ve seen something you feel good about, having been involved with getting something from raw materials to finished product.
Lewis Weiss: Paul, one time we used to hear a lot about enterprise zones, special government sponsored areas for lower taxes and the retraining of people in perhaps poorer communities and such in the inner cities to help build up inner cities. It would also probably aide in one particular area of employment, and that has to do with the veterans who are coming back from overseas. What are we doing with them? We’ve got about 100,000 that are going to be coming back over the next year or two. You’ve got 600,000 jobs. There are 100,000 vets coming back. You have the enterprise zones. Do we have any information on that available?
Paul Gerbino: Yes, absolutely. I’m going to ask Beth to really speak to the whole veterans opportunity, because I think we have an incredible untapped resource in future workers amongst the veterans. Beth?
Beth Goodbaum: Definitely. And we need to help the veterans who come back home that are lost in career translation. They are lost in skill translation. So we have 34,000 troops that are expected to be pulled back home by 2014. We’re getting really close to this, and veterans are really a critical talent to filling the pipeline. They have extensive technical training and leadership skills, and military veterans are often the ideal candidates for top manufacturing positions. And sometimes the culture in the military is that you promote those who you work for, and now they have to promote themselves. And sometimes they get lost and they undersell themselves which is unfortunate, but there are major efforts here such as the Get Skills to Work Coalition and that was started by GE, the Manufacturing Institute Alcoa Lockheed Martin, and it had the goal of training these veterans with the skills that they need in advanced manufacturing careers. And they want to get 100,000 veterans in advanced manufacturing by 2015, and what they’ve created is a digital badge system.
So the Manufacturing Institute actually works with Futures Incorporated, and then decided to create this digital badge system to make it easier for employers to sort of track the talent. They want to translate the military occupational specialty codes to civilian positions, so now the military ex service men and women can know where they stand, and employers have an easier time in filling positions that might not be too obvious coming in. So we’re talking about C and C machine operators, electronic assemblers, machinists, material handlers, and there’s a big opportunity for filling the pipeline, for getting the veterans with giving them the opportunities that they deserve coming back home.
Paul Gerbino: And we are very passionate about it when you look at the fact that these veterans have served their country, have done a tremendous service for us, and now we have an opportunity to put them in the right spots and get them the training they need. And I think what Beth is describing is actually a pretty exciting opportunity, the idea that you can take the skills that they learned, and through these digital badges match them up with opportunities in the workforce.
Lewis Weiss: The training that you were just referring to Lockheed, GE, Alcoa, that’s all well and good for them to be doing the training to replace the employment for their monolithic sized organizations. Getting back to our passion which is the small to medium-sized, do those particular training programs help these folks for the small to medium sized jobs?
Beth Goodbaum: Definitely, but there are also other initiatives. And I have spoken with recruiters just to get a better sense of what they can do to be proactive with recruiting veterans and they have told me that organizations can actually help veterans by hosting an open house. They need to showcase their companies or industries and really get the talent on a showcase, and sending recruiters to veterans and military folk at hiring events with someone who has actually been in the military. You have someone who speaks their language. You have someone who has been through your struggles, your challenges, and someone who can really speak to what it takes and those are specific efforts that small to mid-size manufacturers can take, including going to this Get Skills to Work Coalition and finding out more online.
Lewis Weiss: I know that we’re going to run short on time here and this is a terrific subject, so I certainly would like to entertain you all coming back and speaking with us again. I’m very excited about a concept that you introduced, Paul, called the brand makeover of manufacturing. I just think that’s a really exciting topic that we should delve into in terms of getting the cool factor back in manufacturing and I want to touch on that again, on the whole buy American idea. But as we wrap up the show here, Paul and Beth, can you give us, first Paul and then Beth, your respective websites, and maybe gives us a little idea of how people can drill down in those to get some of the information we’ve been talking about? Paul?
Paul Gerbino: Yeah. Again, I highly recommend that you go to ThomasNetJobs.com to find out, first of all, for any manufacturers small to medium-size especially who have these positions to fill, to get your jobs posted on the jobs board, as well as anybody in the listening audience who is looking for a new career, or is looking to start their career, to be able to reach out and go to the jobs board to find any kind of apprenticeship or internships that may be available. We have our Career Journal, and this is a great place for you to, one, if you’re an employer, learn the steps that you can take, maybe the steps that Beth has talked about already, are in the articles that she has written. As well as the steps that potential employees can take.
I would invite you to go toThomasNet.com, our main website, where you can see, especially if you’re looking to buy goods for your own business, you can find suppliers and find information. You can get white papers. You can read the latest white paper on many of the different aspects of issues that many manufacturers are dealing with. And then obviously, ThomasNet News, which I’m the publisher of, where you can get the news on the latest new products in the marketplace, plus read articles and insight on market trends, procurement issues, as well as many other types of publications that hopefully, will meet the needs of your audience.
Tim Grady: That’s great. Now Lewis here, your company has been just terrific in sponsoring Manufacturing Talk Radio. We’re very excited to have you as our sponsor. Can you give the folks some information about your company, and where people can go, both to get more information, and I know that we have a link between the two so that they can get, show information and we will post some of Paul’s information there, too.
Lewis Weiss: Our website is http://www.steelforge.com. Actually it’s a fairly new redesigned site, so there’s a lot of new information on there. There is a link to MFG Talk Radio, and we welcome any comments and questions. We welcome doing business also, as opposed to just service to the trade. We have lots of good information on the site and we have good sales people who are anxious to service the marketplace. So thank you for getting me that opening.
Tim Grady: Got you. I appreciate anyone who has been here today. Paul Gerbino, Paul, we will put your information, contact information up on the website. Beth, we’ll put yours up, and Beth, I certainly would like to hear from you in the future on steps that manufacturers can take and steps that employers can take. We didn’t really get into that information. I think it’s absolutely critical that we hear that so that jobs don’t move back off shores and people start buying overseas again. We look forward to the next show, by the way, on December 2nd, that’s a Monday at 2:00 p.m. we’re going to be talking about the ISM number that will be released at 10:00 a.m. that morning, so we’ve got some exciting things coming up and we greatly appreciate our guest. Hopefully we will talk to you again in the very near future. Thank you Paul for being on the show.
Paul Gerbino: Thank you.
Beth Goodbaum: Thank you so much.
Tim Grady: Take care, folks. We’ll talk to you another time.
Speaker: You have been listening to Manufacturing Talk Radio, the only show that takes a look at the opportunities and obstacles small to mid-sized enterprises face in manufacturing here in America with your host Tim Grady and Lewis Weiss, sponsored by All Metals & Forge Group.