The American Mold Builders Association has joined the growing list of industry trade associations to launch formal efforts for drawing young people.
No issue is more important to U.S. manufacturers than finding the next generation of workers. Heavy Metal understands this sounds like a broken record. (And I'm old enough to know what a record is, proof that Heavy Metal is getting old, and is not member of the "next generation.")
The plastics industry is getting long in the tooth, as people with decades of experience are retiring. Nowhere is this more urgent than mold makers. Finding young people, and keeping them employed within the tooling industry, is a critical need.
On Jan. 31, AMBA announced its Emerging Leaders Network, aimed at young people from all AMBA-member companies. The next-generation leaders will meet for the first time at the AMBA Conference, May 8-10 in Itasca, Ill.
Membership in Emerging Leaders is open to people 18-40 years old from a current AMBA member company. This tells you that, in today's skilled-worker-shortage world, 40 is considered young! Yes, 40 is the new 20…
For information, go to AMBA.org and scroll down on the Resources tab.
Other trade associations also are putting a lot of effort into this next-generation movement.
The Plastics Industry Association has its FliP, which stands for Future Leaders in Plastics. The Society of Plastics professionals has started a mentoring program. Both trade organizations offer free memberships to college students
And scholarships are a big part of the SPE's Thermoforming Division, which also has made a big effort to recruit more young people to its board of directors. In an innovative highlight at 2018 Thermoforming Conference, student attendees raced radio-controlled cars sporting colorful thermoformed car bodies. That's better than the traditional, static "student parts design competition."
The Thermoforming Division also held a panel discussion on finding young employees, at last year's conference, titled "Hunting Unicorns."
Let's hope good young workers are more common than that mythical beast!
And a group of younger members of the Association of Rotational Molding formed ARM Future Leaders, a networking group.
This is a long-term problem, made even harder these days by the very-low U.S. unemployment. Solving it will take consistent, creative effort.