Ensuring a Stable Workforce
Serious education and training challenges threaten the metals industry's productivity and competitivenessDownload Talking Points
A skilled workforce is fundamental to a prosperous North American metals industry, yet we face serious education and training challenges that threaten our productivity and competitiveness. The United States faces a growing “skills gap” that makes it increasingly difficult for manufacturers to hire workers qualified for the well-paying jobs our industry provides. A 2015 study found manufacturing companies lose an average $14,000 for every job that goes unfilled for three months or more, and that those vacancies negatively impact employee morale and productivity. The metals and broader manufacturing industries also must contend with a broken immigration system that does not encourage the world’s best and brightest workers and entrepreneurs to come to the United States to live, innovate and start businesses.
Why It Matters
North American manufacturers require a skilled workforce to compete in the global marketplace. Federal lawmakers must ensure our education and training systems prepare today’s students for the 21st century economy. They must also reform our immigration system so the United States can remain a global leader in manufacturing and attract the world’s most motivated and innovative workers, investors and entrepreneurs.
Policymakers must –
- Streamline federal job training programs and accurately assess industry and labor market trends to better train workers to meet employer and market demands.
- Support the vocational education, apprenticeships, job training and certification programs that will teach workers the skills they will need to fill the jobs of the 21st century.
- Require a well-rounded, quality K–12 education system.
- Limit burdensome labor and employment regulations.
- Pass commonsense immigration reforms that ensure access to both low- and high-skilled workers
Coalitions and Partners:
Related Issues Important to the Industrial Metals Supply Chain
The U.S. immigration system is broken because it does not accurately reflect market demand. To bring our laws into the 21st century, federal policymakers must:
- Reform our green card system so the world’s best and brightest minds will want to live, work and invest in the United States;
- Streamline our visa programs and provide additional visas for workers in high-demand industries; and
- Provide a mechanism for employers to easily and accurately verify the work eligibility of their applicants.
To remain competitive in a global economy, U.S. businesses need an immigration system that helps them build and retain the legal workforce they need. The only way to break the cycle of illegal immigration is to fix our system so it appropriately meets the demand for labor.
Employee well-being is closely tied to worker satisfaction and productivity, and MSCI members are dedicated to providing a safe and clean environment for their workers. But overregulation imposes significant costs on the American metals industry without improving the daily lives of its workers. Labor regulations are the most costly type of regulation for manufacturers. In the last few years, the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration have issued a host of new regulations and rulings that would increase employer liability, expand union organizing, and raise businesses’ personnel and compliance costs. While these rules are meant to raise worker pay and reduce income inequality, they will actually have the opposite effect. By significantly increasing the cost of doing business, these policies will make it more difficult for companies to hire, provide good benefits and improve safety operations. Combined with other costly environmental and health care regulations, these new labor policies could put many smaller companies out of business. Many of these rules should be reversed or rewritten.