Rochester Tooling & Machining Association

Keynote Address

Workforce Development - A Priority

Kevin J. Kelley, RTMA Executive Director

One of the primary areas that the RTMA is focused upon is workforce development. We have been participating in the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Councilís Education and Workforce Development Committee. The committee has been working to solve the problem of scarce skilled labor for advanced manufacturing, health services, building trades, information technology and culinary services.

The committee is comprised of members of the private sector, educational institutions, government agencies and foundations. It has identified data to support these chronic shortages in skilled labor supply. It also has identified the challenges within school districts regarding establishing and delivering applied technologies programs. The ultimate goal of the committee is to fill "middle skills" jobs, which are presently unfilled and will remain so until an appropriate labor supply emerges.

Providing summer internships within the manufacturing sector has been put forward by Mike Mandina (committee member), who is the RTMA Board of Directors Vice President, and the President of FAME. Mikeís proposal is entitled "The 5% Pledge". The plan would call for employers to take on summer interns, equaling 5% of their total employee base. Efforts are underway to identify funds to pay the interns.

The objective is to give the interns the opportunity to experience what manufacturing is all about, and for employers to begin to evaluate potential future full time employees.

In the near future, I will be reaching out to the membership to determine the level of interest in participating in "The 5% Pledge". Should you have any comments about this project, please contact me at

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