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Workforce-Development Program Gets a Shot in the Arm

Thursday, March 15, 2007
The Ford Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has awarded a $200,000 grant to The Manufacturing Institute/Center for Workforce Success, the research and education arm of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The grant will go toward the NAM Business Champions program, a task force of business leaders committed to helping community colleges prepare more people for high-skill jobs. Business Champions participants reach out to business and community leaders through presentations, briefings and publications to raise awareness and promote innovative policies to improve the workforce-development capacity of community colleges. To learn more, visit

Tour John Deere from your Living Room Sofa

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
In a recent episode of The Ultimate Factory, the National Geographic Channel presented a segment that followed the growth of John Deere from a one-man blacksmith shop to one of the world’s leading manufacturers of agricultural equipment. The show repeats tomorrow (March 15) and again on March 22. It includes a tour of the John Deere Harvester Works facility, covering more than 359,000 sq. yds. and housing more than 2000 employees, 49 robotic-welding machines and eight laser-cutting machines, including models from Bystronic Inc. Follow this link:

Metalforming Capital Expenditures Projected to Increase

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The 2007 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Capital Spending Report reveals that metalforming companies project higher capital expenditures this year. Conducted annually, the report forecasts manufacturers’ plans for capital investment, sampling 81 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada. Forty-six percent of responding companies anticipate that their 2007 capital expenditures will exceed 2006 expenditures; 22 percent report that their 2007 budgets are unchanged; and 28 percent indicate that their capital-spending budgets are lower for 2007 than 2006. On average, companies plan to spend $792,616 on capital expenditures this year—a nine-percent increase compared to the $717,692 spent in 2006. Strong investments are forecasted in automation, controls, mechanical presses, press-safety equipment, robotics, software, toolroom equipment and welding equipment. Metalformers plan to make the largest share of their capital expenditures early in the year, as $25.4 million is projected to be spent in the first and second quarters, and $24.3 million in the third and fourth quarters.


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