During a visit to Vermer Corp. in Pella today, the leader of the National Association of Manufacturers unveiled plans for a new national multimillion-dollar capital campaign aimed at addressing the manufacturing industry’s growing workforce crisis. 

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of NAM, outlined plans for the “Creators Wanted” campaign during the eighth annual NAM State of Manufacturing Address. Timmons’ address came on the 125th anniversary — to the day — of the founding of the national organization in Cincinnati on Jan. 22, 1895. 

The new capital campaign will support the programs of the Manufacturing Institute, including the STEP Women’s Initiative; youth engagement through Dream It, Do It; and Heroes MAKE America, a program that trains returning military service members for high-paying manufacturing jobs. 

As part of the campaign, NAM will launch a mobile tour this spring aimed at engaging 250,000 Americans with hands-on experiences that demonstrate the high-tech opportunities in modern manufacturing. The campaign also seeks to reach more than 15 million people online. It will conclude this fall in Cincinnati with NAM’s Making America Festival in September. 

Vermeer Corp. and another Iowa-based global manufacturer, Pella Corp., have each made $100,000 contributions to the Creators Wanted campaign, Timmons noted. 

Timmons also spoke on the need to address global climate change, needed investments in U.S. infrastructure and immigration. Broken infrastructure costs each American family an estimated $3,400 in added costs every year, Timmons said. NAM’s “Building to Win” plan calls for more than $1 trillion in infrastructure investments “to fix collapsing bridges, unclog our highways, deploy 5G capabilities and so much more,” he said. 

Regarding immigration reform, “manufacturers want a comprehensive solution that fixes border

security, addresses economic realities, but also shows compassion,” he said. 

“We have a full plan ready to go, so don’t tell us it can’t be done. And don’t tell me we don’t have room for immigrants who want to contribute to this country, either,” Timmons said. “There are more jobs to fill in America than unemployed people to fill them. And, don’t forget, nearly half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.” 

To read the full text of Timmons’ prepared remarks, click here.