Project MFG
Clash Of Trades Competition Still 6

AEM Partners with Project MFG for Workforce Development

Oct. 3, 2022
The partnership will help AEM and its member companies train and have access to the future manufacturing workforce.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has formed a partnership with the workforce development initiative Project MFG. Through this partnership the two organizations aim to increase the amount of skilled talent available for the manufacturing industry. 

Project MFG works to promote the manufacturing industry and provide training by collaborating with communities, educators and industry leaders. As part of its efforts, Project MFG holds competitions throughout the year to help increase interest and engagement.  

Helping develop a skilled workforce is an important mission for AEM and its member companies  many of which include fluid power and other component manufacturers serving the heavy equipment industries. Like many industries, manufacturing is struggling to find skilled workers as a large portion of its workforce retires and fewer people are entering the industry. As such, AEM and other industry associations are working to educate people of all generations and skill levels about the opportunities in manufacturing. 

"AEM is committed to supporting our members and their efforts to attract, engage and retain a more highly skilled workforce," said AEM Senior Director of Workforce and Industry Initiatives Julie Davis in the association's press release announcing the partnership with Project MFG. "In promoting engagement with Project MFG, we are helping facilitate real opportunities for our members to connect with education and gain access to the next generation of industry employees."

Partnership Provides Benefits for All

AEM said in its press release it will benefit from the partnership by gaining exposure with a nationally recognized program like Project MFG. In addition, AEM said its members can leverage the partnership as well in a variety of ways: 

  • Raise awareness locally/regionally/nationally
  • Access top talent and develop a future stream of developed talent
  • Influence skills being taught
  • Create goodwill/positive industry perception in communities where facilities are located, through local/regional/national PR and media events. 

AEM noted the partnership will help not only to promote manufacturing jobs and provide training but also ensure the training will mee the needs of manufacturers. The association and its members can offer their insights into what skills are needed so that the appropriate training can be provided. 

Project MFG's competitions aim to provide an engaging way to provide training and interest in manufacturing. There are two competitions, Integrated Manufacturing and Welding. 

The Integrated Manufacturing competition brings together interdisciplinary teams with programming, welding, metrology and machining skills to create a product which meets specific criteria over the course of 2 days. This competition is meant to help reflect the advanced manufacturing workplace. 

For the tournament-style welding competition, individuals are given 2 hours to complete their project using welding materials and processes. 

Per Project MFG, these competitions are intended to test students' skills as well as their ability to think critically, collaborate and manage resources.

"Since Day 1, Project MFG has been hyper-focused on workforce development and enabling American Manufacturing to reclaim and solidify our position as the world leader," said Dr. Ray Dick, founder of Project MFG, in AEM's press release. "Through our series of competitions, we are changing the conversation around skilled trade careers in manufacturing. Not only are we raising awareness for demand, we are initiating conversations between education/industry/economic development – to generate growth of the trained workforce in regions where competitions are held."

Additional ways AEM said its members can get involved through the Project MFG partnership include: 

  • Sponsorship of teams
  • Providing venue for competitions
  • Providing equipment to be used at competitions/with tech school partner
  • Influence the work completed and skills utilized at competitions
  • Sponsorship of overall competitions (or series of competitions) locally/regionally/nationally
  • Sponsorship of media production/reality series production. 

As efforts to increase manufacturing within the U.S. continue to help provide good jobs and more local supply of goods, there will be an even greater need to attract and develop the workforce necessary for this industry in the coming years, making partnerships like this vital. 

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Technical Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is technical editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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