Virginia endorses solution to worker shortages

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 today 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 John Engler. “America is in a worldwide race for skilled talent. More than 80% 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% of manufacturers reported an overall shortage of qualified workers that cuts across industry sectors;
  • 90% of manufacturers reported a moderate to severe shortage of qualified skilled production employees such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors, technicians;
  • 83% reported shortages are currently impacting their ability to serve customers.
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