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NextFlex Hosts the National Association of Manufacturers National Tour February 28

By Brynt Parmeter, Director of Workforce Development, Education, and Training, NextFlex

On a warm, sunny February day in Silicon Valley, NextFlex hosted the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the California Manufacturing & Technology Association (CMTA) as part of NAM’s fourth annual State of Manufacturing Tour across America. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, and Dorothy Rothrock, President of CMTA, and their teams visited with Malcolm Thompson, Executive Director of NextFlex, and enjoyed a panel discussion highlighting the urgent need to build a modern manufacturing workforce in the United States. Brynt Parmeter, the NextFlex Director of Workforce Development, Education, and Training led a live-streamed panel discussion that highlighted challenges and opportunities in support of the mission of each of our three organizations, and NextFlex was chosen as a site on their stop in Silicon Valley due to the close alignment of workforce development goals.

The program started with Malcolm, Jay and Dorothy welcoming viewers to the panel discussion, and provided a short introduction of each of their respective organizations. It was immediately obvious that the need for a trained workforce prepared to tackle 21st century manufacturing challenges and associated jobs, is a critical imperative within tech-intensive industries across the nation. Brynt jump started the panel by stating that in the broader FHE sector, there are 9.6M workers but there are also 1.4M job postings unfilled based on a 2016 Workforce Intelligence Network Report. Jay Timmons said that across all manufacturing sectors, that manufacturers will need to fill about 3.5 million jobs over the next seven years.

This trained workforce problem is compounded by the aging of the current workforce, finding that 25% of the workforce is older than 55 but only 6% is under the age of 24 which is a stark indicator for the magnitude of the talent pipeline shortage. The additional known data point is that only 22% of the FHE-related talent is female. These are all challenges being addressed by FlexFactor®, NextFlex’s project-based learning program for high school students.

Panelists Included:

• Miyu Nakajima, a Senior at Lincoln High School, San Jose Unified School District, and FlexFactor alumni
• Ilyaas Sugal, a Junior at Lincoln High School, San Jose Unified School District, and FlexFactor alumni
• Ryan Alpers, English and Journalism Teacher, Lincoln High School, San Jose Unified School District
• Kevin Wan, Assistant Principal, Instruction, Lincoln High School, San Jose Unified School District
• Lisa Parmeter, Parent of a FlexFactor alumnus and NextFlex intern
• Donovan Lazaro, Business Development Officer, City of San Jose
• Emily McGrath, Deputy Director of Workforce Development, NextFlex

NAM 2018 Tour of NextFlex - a Panel Discussion

L-R: Panel moderator Brynt Parmeter, NextFlex; Students Miyu Nakajima and Ilyaas Sugal, Lincoln High School; Ryan Alpers, Lincoln H.S.; Kevin Wan, Lincoln H.S.; Lisa Parmeter, Parent; Donovan Lazaro, City of San Jose; and Emily McGrath, NextFlex

Each panelist expressed their perspective on the future of advanced manufacturing as well as how FlexFactor has impacted their lives, their students’ lives, and the community. One of the highlights of the panel was the students’ description of their respective product ideas and then they proceeded to eloquently describe how the experience has shaped their education and career pathway plans.

NAM 2018 Tour of NextFlex - Students

L-R: Malcolm Thompson, NextFlex; Students Ilyaas Sugal and Miyu Nakajima, Lincoln High School; Dorothy Rothrock, CMTA; and Jay Timmons, NAM

The visit concluded with tours of the NextFlex Technology Hub, and a promise of mutual collaboration between NextFlex, NAM, and the CMTA to collectively seek creative solutions to help U.S. manufacturing achieve its potential over time.