Machinists Back Massive Investment in Skills Training

Washington, D.C., November 12, 2007 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is joining with the Workforce Alliance, a coalition of business, civic and labor leaders who are calling for the largest investment in workforce training since the G.I. Bill.

Members of the coalition today announced the Skills2Compete campaign, a national effort to give every U.S. worker access to at least two years of technical education or training that would lead to a vocational credential or an industry-specific certification.

“It’s hard enough when workers are looking for jobs that don’t exist,” said Machinists President Tom Buffenbarger. “It’s far worse when good jobs go unfilled because workers don’t have access to the training or education they need to qualify for those jobs.”

The Skills2Compete campaign is aimed at providing the kind of skill-specific education that will match America’s workers with the jobs that U.S. employers are trying so hard to fill. Thousands of production jobs in the U.S. go unfilled each year because workers lack the basic training to operate precision machinery. According to the Workforce Alliance, the demand for skilled workers will remain robust in the future.

“We need to give apprenticeships and vocational education much more than the lip service they have received in the past, and we fully intend to make this an issue in the presidential campaign,” said Buffenbarger.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the nation’s largest industrial trade unions, representing nearly 700,000 members in aerospace, manufacturing, shipbuilding, transportation and defense-related industries. For more information about the IAM, visit