Steelmaking is a high tech, 21st century job of the future. It requires hard work, innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit. It also demands a good knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The workforce of the future will be one that can take on new challenges. The goal is to create a workforce made up of motivated, exceptional workers who want a career in an industry that is the backbone of our Nation.
To advance that goal SMA supports innovative policy and hands on programs to attract, train and retain the next generation of steel workers. SMA encourages federal, state and local governments to partner with business and unions to:
- Ensure adequate funding and promotion of STEM education programs
- Improve access to community colleges that offer associate degrees and certifications geared toward manufacturing jobs by increasing the maximum Federal Pell Grant
- Recognize that Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) complement rather than compete with traditional Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) by offering apprenticeship offerings into a wider array of industries and to a larger number of workers
- Expand registered apprenticeships programs that create living wage jobs and provide lifetime skills training
- Reinstate the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships
- Increase funding of The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) to help America’s veterans, prepare for meaningful careers after serving their country
Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce requires us to bridge the talent gap. To attract a new generation of workers, the steel industry should work together with stakeholders to change the perception of work in manufacturing and expand and diversify its talent pipeline.