Over the past several years, the steel industry has been faced with significant workforce development challenges that have resulted in critical supply chains being outsourced to foreign adversaries such as China. If we do not address this issue in the very near term, critical, unique job skills will disappear in our country and we will be even more dependent on foreign sources for critical industries. The lack of skilled labor in the domestic marketplace primarily stems from a skills gap within the manufacturing workforce. Recently, 70% of manufacturing companies have cited unfilled jobs as a primary reason that their facilities have fallen behind traditional production levels. As a result, it is more important now than ever to invest in reshoring critical supply chains to bolster domestic economic and national security interests through a more robust workforce.

How Do We Close the Skills Gap?

The manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone. STI/SPFA supports removing the stigma of the trades and encouraging rewarding careers in manufacturing. These positions are critical to the future of our country’s infrastructure and continued growth.

Where We Stand

STI/SPFA believes the narrative on trade school programs must fundamentally change so that high school students may better understand the benefits of working in the steel fabrication industry. STI/SPFA is committed to supporting these initiatives and promoting the next generation of welders. To directly address the root causes of the skills gap within our workforce, STI/SPFA supports legislative actions that:

  • Bolster a comprehensive labor pool
  • Continued support of the Perkins Act
  • Support apprenticeship programs
  • Provide resources to re-skill and up-skill workers through new training such as Industry 4.0
  • Utilize the support of expert groups to provide industry-proven training and educational resources to workers


  • Advocacy
  • Workforce Development