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This ‘Signing Day’ Celebrates Teens Who Are Skipping College For Full-Time Work

There’s something really innovative happening at a public high school in Virginia. Students who are opting out of college in favor of full-time employment received their very own day of celebration, courtesy of school officials. The teens are being acknowledged for landing an achievement that’s just as important as college acceptance — which is an incredibly thoughtful, affirming idea. Henrico Schools’ Career and Technical Education program honored teens who are going right into the workforce with a “signing day,” modeled after the celebration that student athletes receive when they’re accepted into athletic programs. “In recent years, it’s become a common sight: heralded high school athlete

Recruiter: Manufacturers desperate for workers

Talking to Julio Rivera, 17, is like going to church, because the Edison High School senior has a way of turning the ordinary into the sacred. The ordinary: welding two pieces of metal together in his high school’s welding shop in North Philadelphia. The sacred: “You can see the change of color in the weld. It looks like a rainbow.” When he graduates, Rivera, who used his welding skills to make a metal rose, will make some employer happy. That’s because in the Philadelphia region and around the nation, manufacturers are desperate to hire welders. In fact, Rivera already has a job offer from PTR Baler & Compactor Co., a manufacturer of recycling equipment where Rivera has an internship. That’

WCCC offers free training in manufacturing

A new free micro-credential training program at Westmoreland County Community College aims to give unemployed and under-employed workers a leg-up on much needed skills in manufacturing. The program, which begins April 30, includes a nine-day pre-employment program followed by training in welding and machining at the college's Advanced Technology Center. Offered at no cost to the student, participants will gain entry-level skills valued in the manufacturing field and obtain micro-credentials including AC/DC electrical and mechanical drive systems, blueprint reading and shop math, spill prevention and hazardous materials, as well as American Heart Association Heartsaver OSHA 10-hour safety cer

How the Loss of Union Power Has Hurt American Manufacturing

Want to make America great again and keep factories in the United States? Try strengthening labor unions. That may seem counterintuitive, and certainly contrary to the direction the country has been moving in lately. But the reality is that when organized labor dug in its heels — as it did regularly in the United States until late in the 20th century — manufacturing companies thought twice about shutting a factory and transferring production to another country. As union membership declined, however, so did the political leverage of once nationally-known leaders like John L. Lewis, head of the United Mine Workers, and George Meany, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s first president. Not since the Nixon and

Steamfitters Local 449 holds open house to educate, recruit

Steamfitters Local 449 will host an open house this weekend for HVAC-R professionals and job seekers at its $18 million state-of-the-art Technology Center in Harmony, Beaver County. The event, which will provide attendees with information on educational opportunities Steamfitters union members receive as apprentices and journeymen, will be held Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday's offerings include eight free 90-minute PDH seminars for engineers and other HVAC-R professionals on a variety of topics. The seminars will be taught by qualified instructors from seven industry manufacturers and will give participants an opportunity to earn PDH credits. On Saturday, the center will sh

Family Business: Tradition or Superior Vision?

Business is personal for Eric Miller, CEO of Miller Welding and Machine Co. When he was in college, his grandfather, Dave R. Miller, made the “big decision” to expand the family business from a machine and welding shop into an integrated, full-service supplier to the industry. Dave had started the business in 1963, at first serving the mining and lumber industries in western Pennsylvania after he was laid off as a welder. Soon he found a much larger market serving the steel mills. So, in order to secure a better financial position for the family, he expanded the company and pulled the family in even further by employing his wife and eventually all six of his children. Currently, the company

Sustainability Efforts in Manufacturing Bolstered by NAM, DOE Partnership

As manufacturers continue their journey to become more sustainable further help is now available. On April 10 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) announced the Sustainability in Manufacturing partnership. Through this partnership fostered by DOE’s Better Plants program, the partners will help U.S. manufacturers drive energy productivity improvements and accelerate adoption of energy-efficient technologies. “Working alongside our private sector partners, we are driving cost savings and a stronger, more secure U.S. industrial base,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Through the Better Plants program, nearly 200 leading manufacturers are a

At new apprenticeship center, Pa. labor secretary promises more training dollars

Kenneth Broadbent led his visitor through nearly all of the 75,000 square feet of the training “mega-center” built amid rolling farmland in Harmony, Butler County. Classrooms connected to laboratory spaces. Sparks flew in some of the 66 welding booths protected by an orange curtain of tinted plastic. Students checked the tension of a motor belt. Industry has donated equipment — rooftop HVAC systems from malls, refrigeration units from grocers, valves and industrial controls from pipelines — and vendors have rented office space: Lincoln Electric, Mathey Dearman, E.H. Wachs and Hytorc. “We’re the American dream!” exclaimed Mr. Broadbent, business manager for the Steamfitters Local Union 449. H

State of Owner Readiness Survey

The Central Penn Business Journal polled 111 business leaders, nearly a third of whom were approaching retirement age, most of them running family-owned businesses, about transition plans. The research was conducted using questions from the Exit Planning Institute’s State of Owner Readiness Survey. The bigger picture rendered by the data is one of unpreparedness. Despite the fact that many respondents ranked getting the full value for their business as a top priority, nearly half of respondents did not know their company’s value. With a few exceptions, respondents either said that a transition has not been documented (40.9 percent) or there is no plan at all (47.3 percent). The majority of r

York County manufacturer gets $40K state grant for solar project

A York County industrial-ventilation manufacturer plans to install a rooftop solar system with the help of a state grant of $40,024. The commercial solar system will be purchased by Air Dynamics Industrial Systems Corp. and installed at the company's facility at 180 Roosevelt Ave., state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans (D-York) said in a press release. The project is estimated to cost $160,100 and includes setting up a rooftop solar-power generator atop two of Air Dynamics’ buildings. The grant comes from the state's Solar Energy Program, which is co-administered by the state's Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection. The grant was approved Frida

This Manufacturer Is Creating Opportunities for Disabled Workers. You Can, Too.

Almost 70 years ago, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged employers to offer “equality of opportunity” for disabled and older workers and recognize that “ability … should be the sole job test.” Sadly, we haven’t come very far. The Americans with Disabilities Act--important legislation meant to improve quality of life and provide equality of work life—was passed in 1990. Yet only 17.5% of people with a disability were employed in 2015, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. That compares to a 65% employment rate for people without documented disabilities. Even considering educational levels, unemployment rates are much higher for people with

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