September 30, 2004
U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce Address and Encourage Tomorrow's Skilled Trades Leaders During Recent Washington, D.C. Visit
Snap-on Tools recently expanded its support of America's next generation of skilled workers through two special events in Washington, D.C. that emphasized the importance of developing and educating young people in the United States. The company brought together SkillsUSA and the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce to raise the visibility of students and to promote the high quality of education and breadth of career options available in skilled trades.
SkillsUSA is a national organization serving a quarter-million high school and college students and their instructors in technical, skilled and service occupations instructional programs. Skilled labor comprises automotive careers including auto service technology and collision repair technology, as well as a variety of other occupations that require specialized training such as welding, masonry, cosmetology, culinary arts, technical drafting and others.
Snap-on Tools and SkillsUSA invited Emily Stover DeRocco, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, and Al Frink, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Manufacturing and Services, to address the more than 200 students and instructors who were visiting the nation's capital as part of SkillsUSA's Washington Leadership Training Institute. The institute is a five-day program that offers training for developing advanced leadership, citizenship and employability skills.
On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Assistant Secretary DeRocco spoke to the group of SkillsUSA representatives, encouraging the students to stay in school and to take advantage of the array of post-secondary education options available to them. According to DeRocco, there have never been more attractive career options in the skilled trades. In the automotive repair industry, for example, there continues to be a growing need for service technicians. There is also a clear pathway established for the career, which holds the highest rate of self-employment of all jobs, more then 16 percent, according to the Department of Labor. During her speech, DeRocco also encouraged students to be confident in their choice for career pathways and reminded them that they are the hope and future of the United States.
Assistant Secretary Frink was also very interested in SkillsUSA and how the organization helps address the issue of training America's future workforce in manufacturing and other fields facing competitive job pressure. He met with the students two days before DeRocco on Sunday, Sept. 19, in Herndon, Va., and spoke about some of his own challenges in discovering, rediscovering and developing professional skill sets and finding the "right" career. Frink's speech to SkillsUSA was the first one he's given to a group outside the department since being appointed to his position.
According to Chris Pfaus, vice president of marketing for Snap-on Tools, Snap-on recognizes the nation's enormous interest in retaining skilled labor and creating a competent workforce capable of competing with overseas labor, and continually training and preparing American workers in order to maintain its competitive advantage.
"We believe there is a tremendous need to educate and encourage young Americans for tomorrow's skilled trades jobs and the quality work the SkillsUSA organization is doing deserves our complete attention, admiration and continued support," said Pfaus.
In addition to hearing speeches from DeRocco and Frink, students visited Capitol Hill and the offices of their U.S. senators and representatives to discuss their current and future involvement with the organization and what local legislators are doing to support training and education for skilled labor.
Snap-on has supported SkillsUSA for more than 20 years at both local and national levels. In addition to helping increase the organization's visibility in Washington, D.C., the company provides leadership on technical committees for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) competition categories; sponsors the SkillsUSA State Director's luncheon; provides financial support for the organization's National Officers, a group of secondary and post-secondary students elected by their fellow students; serves on the Youth Development Foundation, including the chairmanship of the Foundation; and donates awards of tools and equipment for the NLSC.
Snap-on Tools Company, LLC is a subsidiary of Snap-on Incorporated, a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of tool and equipment solutions for professional tool users. Product lines include hand and power tools, diagnostics and shop equipment, tool storage products, diagnostics software and other solutions for the transportation service, industrial, government, education, agricultural, and other commercial applications, including construction and electrical. Products are sold through its franchisee dealer van, distributor channels and company direct sales, including snapon.com. Founded in 1920, Snap-on Tools is a $2+ billion, S&P 500 company headquartered in Kenosha, Wis., and employs approximately 12,000 worldwide.