MEMA applauds President Trump for signing into law the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act). Reauthorization of the act was a bipartisan effort by Congress.
The Perkins Act seeks to prepare students for the workplace by harmonizing the current workforce system with new and existing career and technical education and applying industry-recognized credentials to educational programs. The bill also allows funds to be used toward the purchase of manufacturing equipment and credentialing exams that aim to prepare the future generation of manufacturing professionals working in a competitive, high-tech, global industry.
“In the 12 years since Congress passed the last Perkins reauthorization, the economy has evolved tremendously, becoming increasingly dependent on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and other skilled labor,” said President Trump in a statement. “The White House, led by Ivanka Trump, was strongly engaged every step of the way to ensure passage of this critical legislation to provide students and workers the training necessary to succeed in a 21st century economy. By enacting it into law, we will continue to prepare students for today’s constantly shifting job market, and we will help employers find the workers they need to compete.”
MEMA, which has been a vocal advocate for advancing policies that will help manufacturers recruit and maintain high-quality workforce, recently released a survey of MEMA’s member companies that showed motor vehicle parts manufacturers are being impacted by labor shortages and other workforce issues.
Some of the research results show an alarming trend, where businesses are unable or struggling to effectively compete with their current workforce. Among the findings:
- Seventy-two percent of MEMA members responding to the survey reported a skilled labor shortage.
- More than 45 percent of skilled and professional staff are eligible for retirement in the next five years, creating a potential sudden loss of institutional knowledge and a rapid decrease in trained employees.
- Seventy-nine percent of member companies reported not pursuing business due to lack of talent on staff.
- Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicate they have taken steps to find non-traditional workers to help alleviate the workforce problems and provide basic skills training such as reading and math.
Motor vehicle component manufacturers are the largest employer of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., contributing nearly 3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. Employment by suppliers is up 19 percent since 2012, generating a total direct and indirect employment impact of 4.26 million jobs.