Events and News

From the CEO: Attracting the Next Generation of Employees

June 23, 2017

A 2015 survey by Deloitte for The Manufacturing Institute found “the public is unwilling to encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing.” Those findings documented the challenges that all manufacturers, including metalcasters, face in recruiting top young talent to our industry.

The need is compelling. Every day, about 10,000 Baby Boomer employees enter retirement. Our industry is not exempt from this trend. As I visit foundries, many display plaques showing the names of employees with 25, 35, and even 50 years of service. As one foundry manager told me, “These experienced employees have great knowledge, and are a treasure to our company. As they retire, it is important that we find and retain excellent new employees to take their place.”

AFS is the premier national trade association working tirelessly to attract and retain talent for our industry. A portion of your membership dues each year is
applied to these efforts.

Some of this work starts at the local level, where our chapters expose teenagers to metalcasting in a foundry-in-a-box type program in which students pour molten tin and create their own small castings in a metalcasting simulation.

AFS chapters also provide immense support to Foundry Education Foundation (FEF) scholarships, which are presented to promising students. Throughout each year, AFS collaborates with FEF to reinforce its essential work in cultivating the next generation. We do so through joint marketing efforts, access to chapter meetings, the sharing of databases, scholarships, and other support.

AFS also produces a highly creative magazine and website called Melting Point to help young people understand the importance of castings and the career opportunities our industry offers those with the right skills.

At the college and university level, our organization also sponsors casting competitions, where metalcasting students design and produce a casting and compete in a contest to win a prize for the best casting. AFS staff liaisons ensure our AFS college chapters have all of the support and information they need to thrive. AFS Past  President Jeff Cook held a town hall meeting with student chapter leaders at April's Metalcasting Congress, as well.

When an employee enters our profession, it’s important that they receive support. AFS has a young professionals group called Future Leaders in Metalcasting (FLM) that meets at least twice per year for lectures and discussions that promote professional growth. The October meeting will be in
Defiance, Ohio, and will include a tour of the General Motors–Defiance casting facility and a foundry-in-a-box demonstration at a local school. FLM is a great way for these people to pursue their careers together, as they move into and through leadership positions.

On the first Friday of every October, AFS opens its doors on Manufacturing Day to students to learn about our industry, and we encourage you to do the same. It’s another way to expose future employees to the opportunities in metalcasting.

Moreover, AFS is now undertaking to design a new website, and one of the primary goals is to better express the importance of castings and the wonderful careers available in our industry. The new site will go live in the winter of 2017-2018.

So each time you pay your individual – or better yet, your corporate – membership dues, know that you are investing in the future of our industry. Also know that we appreciate all that you do personally to encourage young people to consider metalcasting as a career they can enjoy for decades to come!