NEW YORK, October 7, 2016—Despite a 1.8 percent drop in youth unemployment in the U.S. from May 2015 to May 2016, the current rate remains more than double that of unemployed persons (4.7%). As we celebrate Manufacturing Day on October 7, 2016, the Institute of International Education (IIE) and Alcoa Foundation are proud to be supporting a special youth program in which 16-23 year olds learn valuable job skills and find employment through paid internship programs in manufacturing. During its initial two-year program (2013-15), 95% of the 500 program participants completed it and 73% of those who completed the program are currently employed or enrolled in a workforce training or education program.
The manufacturing industry struggles to find qualified candidates to fill positions while the unemployment figure among youth hovers in the double digits, at 10.4%. The outlook for women is even worse: under-representation of women, combined with the real or perceived bias toward men in this industry.
IIE and Alcoa Foundation’s Global Internship Program for Unemployed Youth are working to change those statistics. The program is designed to provide youth with paid internship programs to learn both on-the-job skills as well as critical soft skills needed to succeed in a sustainable and rewarding career in manufacturing.
Now in its second phase, the program is offered in five cities around the world, including at Bellingham Technical College (BTC) in Bellingham, Washington, and through the Blount Partnership in Blount County, Tennessee. It’s helped young women like Booie Hawley, who recently graduated from Bellingham Technical College with an associate degree in machining.
Growing up, Hawley loved to tinker. She began BTC’s Machining program, and when an opportunity to participate in a paid internship with the local Alcoa Intalco Works (funded through the Alcoa Foundation Global Internship for Unemployed Youth program) became available, she jumped at the chance. She was the company’s first machining intern and it was her first experience working in the field, doing exactly what she was hoping to do upon graduation. She learned how to operate critical machinery and was mentored throughout her experience. More importantly, she felt like “one of the crew”.
Despite her success, Hawley admits that being a woman in a manufacturing field can be hard, since women often battle prejudgments based on gender stereotypes. She’s grateful for the internship experience because it let her demonstrate her work ethic and ability to learn job skills.
Manufacturing Day is an annual national event executed at the local level supported by thousands of manufacturers as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses, plant tours and presentations designed to showcase modern manufacturing technology and careers.
More information on Manufacturing Day is available at www.mfgday.com.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. Our international approach to education—diverse, borderless, impactful—is a proven way for governments and companies to invest in global talent and solidify overseas relationships. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.
About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 64 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $635 million in communities worldwide. In 2015, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow’s leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2015, 47 percent of Alcoa employees took part in 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 300,000 people and 400 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit alcoafoundation.com and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.