The Institute for Career Development (ICD) celebrated 25 years of program existence last month with a conference in New Orleans, La.
It’s been a fruitful 25 years. ICD, a collaboration between major American manufacturers and the United Steelworkers (USW), is designed to help workers attain their full potential in an increasingly competitive work environment. Participants can choose for a variety of classes to study, with the opportunity to earn associates, bachelors, or masters degrees.
ICD Executive Director Al Long opened the conference with a tribute to USW President Emeritus Lynn Williams, who was instrumental in ICD’s creation back in 1989. From there, the conference broke up so attendees could participate in “best practices” workshops – sharing personal stories with the membership on the difference that access to ICD programs have made in their communities.
Featured speakers included USW Legislative Director Holly Hart, who addressed about 230 ICD participants on the importance of forming labor-management partnership programs such as Stand Up For Steel, which is credited with saving the domestic steel industry during an import crisis during the early 2000s. Hart gave conference attendees an update on the American Jobs Act, scheduled to be implemented in 2015; and also mentioned our very own Alliance For American Manufacturing (AAM), which continues to educate steelworkers and their communities on ways to strengthen domestic manufacturing and keeps them current on legislation to stop unfair trade practices. And last but not least, Holly stressed the important role ICD classes could play in providing USW members with the tools and training to further their careers.
Following Hart came the conference’s keynote speaker: Dr. Jill Biden, second lady of the United States and a lifelong educator. Dr. Biden praised America’s community college system – which ICD heavily relies upon – caling them “one of America’s best-keep secrets.”
I know what happens in community college classrooms. It is extraordinary. I see it over and over because the students are so committed to furthering their education—they know it is the key to a better life for themselves and their families. – Dr. Jill Biden
I was on hand for it all, along with fellow AAM field coordinators Kenny Poweski and William Jones, to share AAM’s Blueprint for the Future; how investing in Infrastructure, doubling down on workforce training, and enacting Buy America procurement policies can create domestic manufacturing jobs – all necessary parts of an industrial strategy that will allow Americans to be competitive in a global economy.
And, of course, we encouraged ICD members to write their legislators, asking them to co-sponsor bills that would crack down on the unfair trade tactic known as currency manipulation. Want to send such a letter? Click the link below!