Perspectives From the Front Lines: Dan Swinney, Founder
We wanted to know how our manufacturing industry friends and staff were coping with the COVID-19 crisis at work and personally. Here is what they said:
"Our work is profoundly social and depends on gathering people in groups at places at work, at schools, and at various meeting. We work in low income communities where many residents do not have access to the technologies needed for operating virtually. We work with employers and youth where timing is particularly important. At the very start of the pandemic, we were starting to expand. We had received very positive results in an evaluation of our work that was federally funded. We were attracting new clients for our work in education. And then the virus and the adjustment to a virtual environment. In the short term, we face challenges. In the long term, our focus on advanced manufacturing should be rewarded as more companies and government recognize the value of strengthening the domestic manufacturing sector and the benefit of decreasing dependency on a global supply chain. There will be greater interest in our services, programs, and policies.
We are now working with our students and young people on a virtual basis as we continue their introduction to the world of manufacturing. We are initiating a program to provide each student with kits that include key measuring devices including a ruler, a micrometer, calipers, a notebook and other essential tools in manufacturing. We will be reaching out to manufacturers and their associations to help finance this important initiative so student—particularly from the inner city can continue to expand their presence in our manufacturing sector.
I am healthy but in my mid-70s, so I have personally taken all the recommended precautions. I have the benefit of a relatively secure job, a strong family, a great partner, and relative security compared to most. I am deeply concerned about the failure of our national political leadership to first recognize the seriousness of the crisis and to act in a timely and effective way. I hope that this crisis will accelerate the already growing movement for fundamental change in our social, political, and economic system."