The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is launching a groundbreaking campaign to help build the workforce of tomorrow. Called “Creators Wanted,” it is an unprecedented nationwide effort to reshape America’s perception of manufacturing and address the industry’s growing skills gap.

“Modern manufacturing provides the chance to create the future,” but young people “aren’t flocking to our careers or even to apprenticeships and educational pathways,” according to a NAM press release. “We have a massive perception problem, and it’s exacerbating a workforce crisis.”

In response, NAM and The Manufacturing Institute, its education partner, will be taking a mobile manufacturing experience to communities across the nation “so that people can see and experience for themselves how humans and exciting technology such as AI and 5G are coming together to make great careers and a better future.” NAM has announced that

starting in spring 2020, the Creators Wanted Tour will hit the road to help America see, touch and feel modern manufacturing. [The] immersive mobile tour will spend 18 weeks crisscrossing the country and visit at least 20 states, stopping at schools, manufacturing sites, community events and festivals big and small.

The campaign’s goals are ambitious:

By 2025, Creators Wanted aims to reduce the skills gap in the United States by 600,000, increase the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and increase the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50% from 27%.

The new initiative will also include a year-long nationwide digital campaign to recruit new talent. So far, NAM has raised more than $14 million in initial sponsorships from employers that range from small, family-run companies to “iconic global brands” such as Toyota, Merck and Microsoft.

In September 2020, Creators Wanted will host a culminating Making America Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, where NAM was founded 125 years ago. The celebration will feature “interactive exhibits, thought leadership forums and entertainment to showcase the future of modern manufacturing in America.” Thousands of manufacturers from across the country will be in attendance, as well as parents, students, policymakers and key influencers.

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