June 25, 2020 — MxD announced today that it will join a new national project led by The Century Foundation (TCF), the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA), and seven other urban workforce development organizations concentrated in the Midwest. The groups, selected through a competitive process and funded by Lumina Foundation, will strategize solutions to the U.S. manufacturing sector’s national recruitment challenges, deepen relationships between employers and communities, and develop credential-based training programs to forge a more racially inclusive future for manufacturing.
“MxD is pleased to contribute our expertise to this important national effort and to learn from the other organizations in the cohort on how to recruit, train, and ensure the success of people of color in manufacturing,” said Lizabeth Stuck, senior director of MxD Learn, the institute’s workforce development arm. “We are preparing for the future of work in manufacturing by equipping learners with digital and cybersecurity skills, from high school students to current practitioners. Racial equity is an essential part of the conversation at every level.”
The coalition launches its effort at a pivotal time for U.S. manufacturing and the nation. As the country’s manufacturing capacity recently shifted to produce millions of pieces of medical and personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight and recover from a deadly pandemic, COVID-19 has brought renewed attention to the need for a strong U.S. manufacturing sector. Pre-pandemic estimates indicated that the United States needed an additional 2.4 million manufacturing workers over the next decade.
With unemployment rates at record levels, especially for Black and Latinx workers, and a renewed focus on addressing systemic racism throughout our society – including employment – U.S. manufacturing’s rebirth presents a critical opportunity to open the sector’s good paying jobs to more workers of color.
“We are seeing three historic trends converge at once,” says Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at TCF and one of the organizers of the coalition. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a need for skilled manufacturing workers to respond to the crisis, and highlighted the importance of employer-focused, credential-based training. The resulting recession has created historic levels of unemployment, leaving half of Black workers without work. And a long overdue reckoning on racial inequality has underscored the urgent need to improve access to jobs that pay well and provide good benefits. Our coalition will work at the intersection of these trends to help shape a more inclusive future of work for manufacturing.”
“The manufacturing sector’s long legacy of creating jobs that offer pathways to the middle class for millions of American families will be crucial to a thriving 21st century economy that works for everyone,” says Lee Wellington, Executive Director at UMAand co-organizer of the coalition. “We are proud to launch this initiative in collaboration with The Century Foundation and these eight incredible partners to realize the promise of an inclusive manufacturing sector and a more equitable future of work. To build a manufacturing sector that’s advancing equity in our communities, we need to dig deeply into the ecosystems that our place-based workforce partners have cultivated — whether it be with public schools, credentialing programs, faith-informed organizations, industry partners, or other community-based groups. Through our engagement with this cohort, we will lean into partnerships that have been forged and partnerships that have not yet been built to create a more inclusive and resilient manufacturing sector.”
As part of the Industry and Inclusion 4.0 cohort, MxDwill work with TCF, UMA, and seven other Midwest-based organizations: Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC; Chicago/Baltimore), LIFT (Detroit), MAGNET (Cleveland), Manufacturing Renaissance (Chicago), Menomonee Valley Partners (MVP; Milwaukee), Northland Workforce Training Center (Buffalo), and WRTP/BIG STEP (Milwaukee). The project is supported by Lumina Foundation, a national philanthropy focused on equity and educational attainment and based in Indianapolis.
The Century Foundation (TCF) is a progressive, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to foster opportunity, reduce inequality, and promote security at home and abroad. For over 100 years, TCF experts have sweat the details of policy in order to advance progressive change. TCF is based in New York, with an office in Washington, D.C. Follow the organization on Twitter at @TCFdotorg and learn more at www.tcf.org.
The Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) is a coalition of organizations and individuals working together to grow more equitable and prosperous economies in cities by building robust, environmentally sustainable, and inclusive urban manufacturing sectors. We are vigilant to ensure that the new urban manufacturing economy reflects the diversity of our cities and offers environmentally sustainable and inclusive equitable employment, ownership, and innovation opportunities to residents of all urban communities. Follow UMA on Twitter @UMfgAlliance and learn more at www.urbanmfg.org.
MxD is where innovative manufacturers go to forge their futures. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, MxD equips factories with the digital tools and expertise they need to begin building every part better than the last. As a result, our approximately 300 partners increase their productivity and win more business.