Provided by Mark Shirley, CEO Finkl Steel, FIERF President

Developing a pipeline of future talent is a key issue for the forging industry. Because this pipeline is critical to the long-term viability of our businesses, your Forging Foundation is refining its focus in 2018 toward workforce development. We plan to do this through town-hall meetings at FIERF Magnet Schools, connecting members with local high schools and vocational training facilities, growing and improving the effectiveness of our scholarship programs, and updating the foundation’s website with additional tools and resources for all stakeholders. 

Building on the success of a recent meeting at The Ohio State University, we will be connecting members, professors and students at local universities to develop relationships, encourage industry-driven research projects, grow internships and refine forging curricula. We plan to focus on workforce development by concentrating on the following areas.

Increase Exposure to Magnet Schools

We want to increase the exposure of our industry to the magnet schools to improve awareness and communicate that we are an attractive, thriving industry. We need involvement from members, so please participate and help make a difference. Bring research ideas, internships, job opportunities and information about your company. Meet the professors and students, and discover the resources available at our university partners.

ASM Materials Camps for Teachers

FIERF plans to continue to actively support ASM Materials Camps for Teachers to get the word out about our industry and provide resources to high schools. At these camps, members meet teachers and make presentations about the forging process and careers in the industry. Through this program, members have also had the opportunity to present directly to students at vocational schools to help build the talent pipeline for skilled trades.  


Scholarships remain a key part of developing our talent pipeline and continue to make a difference. Since 2004, more than 200 students have received Finkl Scholarships totaling $714,000. Since 2015, when Sharon Haverstock endowed the Forging Industry Women’s Scholarship, nine women have received $58,000 in support of their educations. In all, the Foundation is helping 29 students pursue engineering educations this year. We want to make these programs even more effective in 2018 with plans to add another women’s scholarship and implement a mentorship program for the recipients. Please look to our scholarship students for internships and to fill your job openings.

Research and Development

R&D projects sponsored by FIERF provide technology to the industry and are a great vehicle to develop relationships with the academic sector and provide PR for our industry. These projects involve member companies and provide experiential training for students. Please consider attending the 2018 Technical Conference, which will be held Sept. 11-12 in Long Beach, Calif. The conference is an opportunity to transfer technology to the industry and engage the research community in discussions regarding future research to improve the competitiveness of our industry.


I’d like to ask for your help to take FIERF to the next level for the sake of the long-term health of our industry by investing more into developing our talent pipeline. It is a great time to step up our efforts with the business climate improving. If you’re not donating, please consider giving something; if you are donating, please consider taking it to the next level; if it is not possible to donate money, please consider giving your time and talents. 

We need members to attend Magnet School town halls, participate in the ASM Materials Camps, volunteer for boards and committees, and bring forth ideas for research and student involvement. To donate or volunteer, please contact Karen Lewis at 216-862-6967 or  Please consider helping our industry Invest in the Future!