On July 31, 2018, President Trump signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, legislation reforming and reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. FIA has been advocating for this legislation during the last several Lobby Days because it promotes more effective collaboration between employers and educational institutions when providing technical training to students. The act authorizes $1.2 billion for career and technical education (CTE) in FY 2019, up from $1.1 billion in 2017.

The underlying structure of federal funding for CTE coursework remains the same. A complex formula based on population and poverty levels determines the size of each state’s grant. California receives the largest grant, and Vermont and Alaska receive the smallest. Most states supplement these federal funds with state spending.

The biggest change in the new law is that it restructures the relationship between the states and the U.S. Department of Education. Unlike in the past, when states negotiated their performance goals with the department, the intent of the new law is to focus state decision-makers more on state and local needs rather than federal mandates.

States will be drafting transition plans to submit to the U.S. Department of Education in spring 2019. Four-year plans setting the state’s performance goals are due a year after that. During this process, states are required by law to hold hearings, offer opportunities for public comment and consult with business and industry.

The new legislation gives employers a say in determining how that money is spent – on what kinds of programs, teaching which skills, preparing students for what occupations and more. State decision-makers will be seeking input on skills mismatches and labor shortages. Make your voice heard – reach out to state education agencies, explain your workforce challenges, partner with high schools and colleges, and create opportunities for work-based learning. 


7 Recruitment and Workforce Development Tips

With 30 years of working with manufacturers under his belt, FIA President/CEO Jim Warren provides seven activities you can do to raise your visibility in the educational community.

1.     Host a Manufacturing Day plant tour. When you read this, the 2018 Manufacturing Day (Oct. 5) will likely have passed and more than 700,000 working-age youth will have attended over 3,000 plant tours across North America. But Manufacturing Day plant tours can occur all year-round! Clean up your plant, improve your lighting and invite them in! Explain the great, high-paying careers you offer.

2.     Start your own university. I’ve seen no better example of this than DeWys Manufacturing. Read all about it at www.thefabricator.com (search DeWys) and learn why “no labor problem here” is business as usual for that company. 

3.     Pay your staff to teach at a community college. Call on your best employees to teach evening manufacturing classes at your local community college. Observe the on-time and high-achieving students directly and invite them to participate in plant tours.

4.     Establish relationships with CTE instructors. Provide high-school and two-year college-level instructors with resources, guest teach or offer plant tours. Network with instructors to recruit the best students.

5.     Establish a scholarship endowment at a community college. Offer a scholarship for students pursuing a career in manufacturing, and watch your company’s visibility quickly rise! FIERF can help you with this.

6.     Establish an internship program with a community college. Paid internships are a fabulous way to evaluate a great person for permanent employment. Build your bench with the internship system.

7.     Sponsor and assist a FIRST robotics team. No other program that I am aware of influences more K-12 students worldwide to pursue careers in engineering and technical manufacturing than the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program. Learn more at www.firstinspires.org.


Please refer any questions or comments to James Warren, FIA president and CEO (left). He can be reached directly at 216-781-6260 or jwarren@forging.org. Jennifer Baker Reid (right) is FIA’s Washington Representative. For additional information, visit www.forging.org.