One of the oldest trade associations in the U.S., NAM seeks to improve manufacturing competitiveness in the legislative and regulatory environments.

The recent appointment of Pamela Kan, President of Bishop- Wisecarver Corp., Pittsburg, Calif., to NAM’s board of directors will help raise awareness of career and technical education in schools. As a board member, Kan will influence policies on Capitol Hill. She will also continue to work with NAM’s Employment and Workforce group, a team of 25 business leaders that promotes education and job-training initiatives.

“Students don’t hear about opportunities available in manufacturing,” says Kan. “And they don’t hear about the level of skill it takes to operate the sophisticated machinery in modern factories. My goal is to increase the priority, funding, and support of career and technical education in high schools.”

In its 2005 Skills Gap Report, NAM found that 80% of businesses surveyed suffered serious workforce shortages, and that these shortages affected their ability to increase productivity and compete effectively. The study also found that 90% of businesses surveyed reported a moderate to severe shortage of qualified, skilled production workers.

“I can’t complain about the education system if I’m not going to do something to change it,” says Kan. “Going to trade school should have as much status as going to a four-year college.”