On February 22nd, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) visited St. Louis, Missouri for it’s final stop on it’s State of Manufacturing Tour.
The day started with a tour of Ranken Technical College. Present for the tour were Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the NAM; David Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson and current Chairman of the Board of the NAM; and Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. Several leaders from Emerson and the NAM participated in the day’s events.
Stan Shoun, president of Ranken, hosted the group and conducted the tour. He also kicked off a
panel discussion featuring Farr and Timmons along with several Ranken students. Mr. Shoun shared the philosophy of Ranken: to prepare students for well-paying jobs. He said the college conducts random drug tests of students, and stresses the importance of work ethic by making work ethic part of the day-to-day learning process at Ranken. Students wear uniforms and treat their classes as if they were jobs because they are jobs. Students work on real work projects for manufacturers and others and learn skills as if they were on the job, making the transition to full employment after training is complete much easier. Ranken has a very high placement rate for students and students are engaged and excited to learn.
David Farr stressed the importance of technical education in preparing workers for jobs that are open in manufacturing. He said while the focus has traditionally been on creating or attracting new jobs, the focus must shift toward preparing workers for 364,000 open jobs that exist today in manufacturing. He also noted the high level of skill required to be successful in manufacturing today. Farr noted the importance of educating parents, primary and secondary educators and school counselors in the value of manufacturing jobs. He said it was important for industry to help provide direction to educational institutions as technology rapidly evolves so students learn useful skills and are ready to succeed when they are on the shop floor.
Jay Timmons talked about the NAM’s national effort to encourage technical education and stimulate interest in manufacturing jobs through efforts like MFG Day and the Manufacturing Institute. Carolyn Lee, executive director of the Manufacturing Institute accompanied Timmons on the tour and also stressed the value of educating the current and future workforce through stackable credentials. Such credentials verify essential skills that are required for success in industry.
Later in the day, Timmons and the NAM staff were welcomed at the Anheuser-Busch facility for a tour. Jim Bicklein, general manager of the St. Louis brewery led the tour, along with two brewmasters. The tour revealed a unique brewing process with special ingredients that give the variety of products brewed at the facility their unique attributes. Quality control is assured through regular tasting and testing at each step in the process and consistency is maintained by sampling products from breweries all over the world.
Ray McCarty stressed the importance of the work done by the NAM at the federal level. “The NAM was instrumental in the passage of the recent federal tax bill,” said McCarty. “I was receiving updates from Chris Netram, the sole NAM lobbyist that was involved in determining the final details of the bill, on a nearly real-time basis. I received updates from another organization that had employed more than 100 lobbyists specifically to work on this tax bill and none were as close to the actual negotiations as Mr. Netram, as evidenced by the updates I received. In the end, manufacturers and all businesses benefited from the resulting federal tax cut bill. While we at AIM work on behalf of all Missouri businesses at the state level, the NAM does an outstanding job representing American manufacturers at the national level and we greatly value their hard work and dedication to improving the manufacturing environment across the nation,” said McCarty.
St. Louis was the final stop on the multi-state tour conducted by the NAM.
Associated Industries of Missouri is the sole designated state partner of the NAM in Missouri.