News

AFS advocating for solutions to skills shortage

A 2017 AFS workforce survey showed most metalcasters are experiencing challenges in hiring qualified workers. AFS is working aggressively for solutions to the skills shortage.

First, during the recent American Foundry Society (AFS) Government Affairs Fly-In, metalcasting industry representatives personally communicated the impact of this problem in meetings at 100 congressional offices.

Second, joined by nearly 500 manufacturing, business and education organizations, AFS has called on the Senate to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. In a June 26 letter, the groups urged bipartisan action to approve the act, which would make important improvements to the federal system of support for career and technical education, including vocational programs and technical training. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is expected to vote on the Perkins reauthorization bill this week.

“Because employers are reporting a shortage of skilled workers to fill in-demand positions, ensuring that secondary and postsecondary institutions offer modern, quality and relevant career and technical education programs remains a leading priority so that we can develop and grow our nation’s workforce,” the joint letter states. 

“The Perkins Act is part of the solution to closing the skills gap faced by so many U.S. manufacturers, including foundries,” AFS CEO Doug Kurkul said. “The House unanimously reauthorized the act in 2017. We strongly urge the Senate to make Perkins Act reauthorization a top priority in the coming weeks.”

Third, AFS member Angela Dine Schmeisser, president and CEO of St. Marys Foundry (St. Marys, Ohio) recently testified on the skills gap before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. She said, "If you gather a group of metalcasters and ask them what their biggest challenge is today, you’ll likely hear them respond in unison: difficulty in filling job openings and retaining workers.” A video of her testimony on behalf of AFS can be found here.

To join efforts to improve the public policy climate for metalcasters, please contact Stephanie Salmon in the AFS Washington office at ssalmon@afsinc.org.