Sandvik Coromant is "Bridging the Skills Gap" from Coast to Coast

Sixty manufacturers and educators turned out at Calhoun Community College in Tanner, AL on September 15th to participate in the “Bridging the Skills Gap” event, part of the nationwide series of educational seminars being conducted by Sandvik Coromant. The seminar focused on the existing shortage of skilled manufacturing workers, as well as the increasing need for highly skilled workers projected in the coming decade. With NIMS as a partner, Sandvik Coromant discussed the challenges in the metal cutting industry and what metalworking professionals can do to improve their skills and gain certification based on NIMS standards.

Kicking off the event, John Pusatera, Training Specialist at Sandvik Coromant US, presented “The Development of the Metal Cutting Industry.” The presentation looked into the current position of US manufacturing and the misconceptions that have plagued the industry in recent years. For example, one of these misconceptions is that nothing is made in the US anymore, but Mr. Pusatera points out that according to the CIA World Factbook, the US still leads the world in manufacturing, far out-performing the other major manufacturing producers in the world. Attendees also learned about the contributions of manufacturing to the American economy as it remains the major engine of growth in productivity.

Mr. Pusatera noted that according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), eighty percent of manufacturers today report difficulty in finding skilled workers. Within the next 10 years the nation will have 70 million people leaving the workforce with just 40 million replacing them, according to Fortune. Pusatera stated that the industry needs to invest in new technologies, practices, and processes in order to attract the best and the brightest minds to manufacturing. 

Among the resources that are available for manufacturers in meeting the challenge of skilled labor is the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS). At the event, NIMS offered their assistance to participants in meeting the skills challenge by presenting its 21st Century tools to train an advanced manufacturing workforce using 52 certifications, accreditation of programs, competency-based training – including apprenticeship – and the development and certification of trainers.

James Michael Blizzard, recently retired head of manufacturing at Calhoun Community College, represented NIMS in the Alabama event. Mr. Blizzard is the holder of 22 NIMS manufacturing credentials.

For information on future dates and locations for the “Bridging the Skills Gap” event, visit