Reaping rewards

NEWMA earns national recognition

Posted on Jul 14, 2017 :: Feature , Plant News
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

More than a decade of efforts has paid off for the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance. The organization earned recognition from a national manufacturing council.

Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council presented the group with its Talent Management Leadership High Achiever Award at a June gala held in Huntington Beach, Calif. NEWMA was recognized alongside major manufacturers such as IBM, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Lexmark and Under Armour.

The alliance is composed of manufacturers that work with schools, workforce development agencies, chambers of commerce and state organizations to promote manufacturing.

“It was just so exciting to even be in the same category as Dow Chemical and Oracle, and then for our organization to actually be highest achiever in that category is mind-boggling,” says Ann Franz, director of NEWMA. “When they announced us, we were speechless.”

Franz says the organization’s Manufacturing All Stars recognition program, Internship Draft Day program and Get Real Math videos were key programs that helped NEWMA win the award.

The Manufacturing All Stars program invites Alliance member companies to nominate their employees to be spotlighted in the annual careers magazine. Insight Publications produces the magazine, which runs as an insert in the January issue of Insight on Manufacturing.

The All Stars program highlights outstanding manufacturing employees between the ages of 18 and 35. It also recognizes All Star mentors, standout manufacturing employees who provide examples of those who strengthen their company’s workforce or participate in school or community outreach.

Internship Draft Day, held at Lambeau Field last fall, drew more than 200 college and university students from across Wisconsin and Michigan Tech. Students had the opportunity to interview and network with over 40 employers offering paid internship opportunities.

Students vied for the No. 1 draft pick designation, based on grade point average and networking and interviewing skills. Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy announced the No. 1 draft pick at the conclusion of the event. The 2017 event is slated for Nov. 9.

The alliance has created 28 Get Real Math videos, available on NEWMA’s website, with more expected in 2017. Math teachers create the lesson plans, and the videos showcase math skills used in the real world. They highlight ways to apply math in a manufacturing environment and feature skills applicable to grades three through 12. The videos feature companies such as EMT International, Georgia-Pacific and Nercon.

Franz says since presenting about NEWMA’s initiatives, some organizations from around the country, including GE and Georgia Tech, have approached her to discuss implementing similar programs. She also took the opportunity to promote Northeast Wisconsin as a home to world-class manufacturers that can meet the needs of businesses.

For the health and future of manufacturing, Franz says, it’s important for companies to pull together to spread positive messages about the industry. Attracting people to manufacturing is a nationwide issue, she says, so collaboration is key.

“We really are leading the charge,” Franz says. “What we are doing is totally cutting-edge.”