Wednesday, January 30, 2008

VCATS, VMA and VaBIO Partnership in the News

Here is an article that outlines the "Dream it -- Do it" partnership in Virginia that unites the Virginia Manufacturers Association (VMA, the Virginia Biotechnology Association (VaBIO) and the Virginia Council on Advanced Technology Skills (VCATS).

Making, molding, shaping, praising
Wytheville Enterprise Staff
Wytheville Enterprise: News >
05:13 PM


Brett Vassey is usually in Richmond this time of year lobbying the General Assembly. The president and CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association was in Wytheville on Thursday as keynote speaker at the Joint Industrial Development Authority’s industry tenure awards luncheon.
“Today is about celebration,” Vassey told the audience composed of local industrial representatives, elected officials and JIDA board members. “This is a great opportunity to celebrate manufacturing.”
JIDA Executive Director Alan Hawthorne noted this was the first year Wythe County industries were recognized at a separate awards event. The recognition of companies for their contributions to the community, he said, was previously included in the Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Meeting.
“For the sake of time and more of a recognition for these companies,” Hawthorne stated, “we decided to change the concept. We hope to do it as an annual event.”
Wytheville Office Supply sponsored the luncheon held at the Wytheville Meeting Center.
At Thursday’s luncheon and awards presentation, Vassey talked about the Virginia Manufacturers Association’s role in lobbying for laws and regulations relevant to industrial issues. He also pointed out the association’s commitment to important environmental concerns.
Vassey touched on Virginia’s involvement with the Dream It. Do It. campaign developed by the National Association of Manufacturers. In October 2007, Virginia, he said, became the 11th state in America to lend support to the program promoting manufacturing careers and economic development.
According to Vassey, the campaign seeks to build a strong regional alliance to attract young people to careers in advanced manufacturing and provide them with related educational and training opportunities. The Virginia campaign is co-sponsored by the Virginia Council on Advanced Technology Skills, the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Virginia Biotechnology Association in partnership with the National Manufacturers Association and The Manufacturing Institute.
Across Virginia and all 50 states, Vassey noted, the skilled worker shortage is reflected in the national 2005 Skills Gap Report commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute. He said more than 80 percent of manufacturers reported an overall shortage of qualified workers that cuts across industry sectors.
Ninety percent of manufacturers reported a moderate to severe shortage of qualified skilled production employees such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors and technicians, according to Vassey. He also pointed out that 83 percent reported shortages are impacting their ability to serve customers.
“Thousands of high-tech manufacturing jobs are opening in Virginia,” Vassey commented, “and they will require significant skills training and certification if our industry is to remain competitive. Dream It. Do It. Virginia will help align education, workforce and economic growth strategies statewide so that more individuals can be aware of and participate in the great opportunities afforded by careers in advanced manufacturing.”
Vassey also reported his association expects an estimated 46,870 skilled trade jobs to be available in the state through 2010 with nearly a quarter of these job openings driven by requirements. Manufacturing technicians, he said, are expected to experience the largest number of openings, accounting for more than 22,000 of the available jobs.
Following Vassey’s remarks, plaques were presented to the 2007 and 2008 honorees (in five year intervals.
Acknowledged for their contributions over extended periods of time in 2007 were: Atsumi Car Equipment, Brewer Automotive Components and Ryder Systems, five-year award; Cochran Industries, Commonwealth Manufacturing and Development, and Musser Lumber, 10-year award; Wordsprint and Wythe Stone, 20-year award; Coalfield Services and Mt. Rogers Industrial and Development Center, 30-year award; and Acument Global Technologies and Williams Manufacturing, 45-year award.
Recognized for their 2008 contributions to the community over extended periods were: Pepsi Bottling Group, five-year award; Fuel Systems, 10-year award; Horizon Healthcare, Klockner Pentaplast of America, and A&I Mechanical, 15-year awards; P&T Products, 25-year award; Longwood Elastomers, 35-year award; and Crisp Manufacturing, 45-year award.

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