Why NIMS- Kathy Looman, Gene Haas Foundation Remarks

“The growth and passion I have seen in in manufacturing education and credentialing in just a short time has been amazing.”

Kathy Looman from the Gene Haas Foundation made the following remarks at the ribbon cutting at the new Gene Haas Education Center at NIMS, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.Kathy Looman NIMS

“I have over 30 years in machine tool industry, and yet I felt most days like I belonged to a secret society. When I told people what I did for a living in manufacturing, they would ask me “what’s that?” They just had no idea about metalworking, machine tools, or manufacturing. They had no idea what I, as a woman, could possibly be doing in this business.

“I think that this unfamiliarity with manufacturing, with metalworking, with where stuff comes from, this is one of the reasons that the skills gap has occurred.  And why it is a major problem for us today. No one was telling the young people that manufacturing was a viable career opportunity- because no one knew it themselves. And so the perceptions we all know- you know Manufacturing is like that grainy black and white Charlie Chaplin movie- these perceptions are what is in the mind’s eye of students, their parents, and even the unemployed that could find a great career in manufacturing, if only they knew.

“But this isn’t a sad story. Exciting things are happening these days. The past few years, I have been able to take my manufacturing experience and put it to work promoting manufacturing education- the growth and passion I have seen  in just a short time has been amazing. We at the Gene Haas Foundation believe that NIMS- The National Institute for Metalworking Skills- is the glue that is connecting education, industry and workers. By providing a foundation for manufacturing education based on nationally recognized skills credentials, NIMS is also a catalyst that provides assurance to employers, candidates, and skilled workers that the skills that we need in today’s high- tech manufacturing jobs are there in the credentialed employee.

“Haas is doing more than saying “Good Job” and “Carry on” and letting others do this important work.  Just in the last year, Haas has installed about 900 machines in about 200 brand new skills training programs across the country. The country is filled with teachers needing trained.  Exciting things are going on as we are starting- as a country- to recognize the importance of having a skilled workforce for manufacturing and for our economy. So far this year, Gene Haas Foundation has given out 5 million dollars in scholarships to young people who are pursuing manufacturing education. When these young people are employed in manufacturing, our industry, economy, and country will be the better for their choice.

“That is why we are here today to celebrate the grand opening of The Gene Haas Education Center here at NIMS. The Gene Haas Education Center is a physical representation of the importance of what the National Institute of Metalworking Skills means to our industry and our country.  It is the means to create a more competitive and credentialed skilled workforce. For our employees, for our companies, for our industry, for our global competitiveness.

“We have high expectations for The Gene Haas Education Center. We need a globally competitive, credentialed skilled workforce. NIMS will put this to good use to make a difference for all of us in Manufacturing- employers, employees, candidates, and consumers. Because all of us have a stake in solving the skilled workforce issue.”

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