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Good help is harder to find.

In the face of a U.S. labor crunch, associations have a role to play in developing a skilled workforce. Are associations doing enough fast enough to help members find highly skilled workers?

In December 1997 the Labor Department announced a jobless rate of 4.6 percent, a 24-year low. Economic observers noted that unemployment rates vary by industry and location. And an organization's size which affects ability to offer attractive wages and benefits or a career path also influences its employee recruitment and retention prospects. What does all this mean for association chief executive officers concerned with how the changing labor picture affects their members? For starters, these executives need to understand the broad implications of current national labor trends and then factor them into helping their association members address their unique challenges.

As evidenced in this article, many associations are already in the know about member labor needs and are at the forefront in helping members improve worker supplies and skills. But questions remain: Are associations doing enough - and fast enough? And are they letting the nation know what associations collectively offer for improving worker qualifications and filling gaps in an expanding and evolving labor market?

The big picture on labor

David Secunda, CAE, executive director, Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America (ORCA), Boulder, Colorado, says that labor-pool skills, wages paid, and educational resources are regional. And not all companies or industries have the option of relocating. So a trade association dealing with labor supply issues may have difficulty finding a national solution. He suggests a regional approach if you're an association executive developing labor strategies for an entire membership. In the retail industry that he represents, a shift to offshore manufacturing - of high-quality tents, backpacks, running shoes, climbing equipment, and so forth - was not directly inspired by a labor shortage hut by labor expense, says Secunda.

Speaking of offshore: The realities of a global economy hit home when Wall Street reacted to currency problems that began and persisted in Thailand and several other Asian financial markets. Was America's long boom over? A dramatic drop at the New York Stock Exchange triggered an early closing in October and proved that no one could say how long America's economic expansion would continue. Still, the market began recovering, rather than falling in a correction. Perhaps, argued some economists, the new economy invalidated traditional economic rules and measures such as the concept of a natural jobless rate.

But others warned that the shrinking labor pool was a probable precursor of inflation, slowed growth, or a major downturn. The Bureau of National Affairs, a Washington, D.C.-based news and information publisher, gathers and analyzes information for business reports and projections. BNA's October 20, 1997, issue of Daily Report for Executives presented regional outlooks and a national overview that covered the labor crunch In a related interview, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Parry said he doubted that the longevity of the current expansion and dropping unemployment rate in the absence of inflation reflected a paradigm shift in business cycles, although he cited improved inventory controls as a moderating influence.

As 1997 ended, American companies added hundreds of thousands of workers and offered bonuses and other enticements to recruit and retain them. But downsizing at Eastman Kodak, Citicorp, International Paper, Montgomery Ward, Levi Strauss, Whirlpool, Stanley Works, and Apple Computer among others took hundreds of thousands of workers off payrolls.

Are employer decisions about location, expansion, or cutbacks related to an absolute shortage of labor or to a shortage of needed skills? The answer appears to be both. The difficulties associated with having fewer people to choose from could be helped by higher productivity, but much of productivity depends on people's efficient application of effective skills. And relocation overseas, immigration of skilled workers, and advanced technology can offset only some of the problems arising from a lack of domestic skilled workers.

Michael R. Losey, CAE, president and chief executive officer, Society for Human Resource Management, Alexandria, Virginia, says shortages hit hardest in professions that require broad-based competency. But he believes that the general workforce presents more challenge. He recommends that association executives dust off copies of Workforce 2000, published in 1987 by the Hudson Institute, an Indianapolis-based think tank, and also look at the recent sequel, Workforce 2020. Losey says that the predictions of the former have come to pass. For instance, Workforce 2000 said skill-level requirements would go up, and they have.

Labor crunch numbers

Last June, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce, Carol D'Amico, senior fellow, Hudson Institute, and co-author of Workforce 2020, said that skill levels for new jobs are escalating. By 2020, she predicted, 99 percent of the jobs that disappear will be ones requiring low skill levels, while more than a third of new jobs will require sophisticated skills. "Seventy-five percent of net job growth will be in the professional, technical, and managerial areas. These jobs will pay well, be intellectually rewarding, and be less physically demanding than jobs in the past. But only American workers who possess the necessary skills at sufficiently high levels will be able to take advantage of [them]," D'Amico said.

She also cited the 1992 National Adult Literacy Study conducted by the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey, for the National Center for Educational Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education. It produced these statistics: One fourth or more of current college entrants need remediation; worse yet, 14 percent or more of American-born college graduates were "functionally illiterate" in reading, math, and understanding documents. Although people may dispute those statistics, few today would say that a high school or college diploma is a clear indicator of a person's knowledge or skill achievements.

Phyllis Eisen, executive director, Center for Workforce Success, Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C., offers numbers from the center's December 1997 report The Skilled Workforce Shortage. The report summarizes results of a survey NAM and accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton LLP conducted last summer. Of the 4,500 NAM members - industrial companies of all sizes across the nation - surveyed, nearly 10 percent responded. Respondents said that one third of their job applicants had inadequate reading or writing skills; nearly one quarter, poor communication or math skills; and more than 6 in 10, deficiencies in employability skills such as concern about regular attendance. Almost half of their workers had trouble reading and translating work-related drawings, diagrams, and flowcharts.

So nearly 50 percent of respondents provide remedial training. Eisen says that manufacturers have no choice because schools are graduating people who can't read and write, much less work with the mixture of calculus, algebra, and trigonometry to run the computers and robots in factories today. Employers don't like to pay taxes for schools and then spend money to teach people the basics, Eisen says. But, she acknowledges, "no group is trying harder to reform itself than the American school system. We're moving into an era of competency over seat time. We're going to see some degrees and certificates offered through technology that cuts out the schools. Still, I'm optimistic because I see that educators understand the problem and are making progress despite a few intractable areas.

"But finding an adequate labor supply with employability skills and higher-order skills to keep us competitive will be a challenge for years. It's not rhetoric; we don't have an adequate supply now. Schools are not preparing young people for work, and our birthrate is falling. Our huge cohort of baby boomers is going to start retiring, and we're in trouble," warns Eisen.

The evolving labor pool

Continued change in the very makeup of the workforce will also engage the attention of association leaders. Losey credits Workforce 2000 with another on-target prediction: that the workforce would change - become older, more female, more diverse.

In one association example of how this can play out, Secunda says the industry he represents wants to promote diversity among management and retail employees and participants in outdoor recreation. As a result, ORCA has created a diversity resource guide for its member-employers. The guide tells them about programs, publications, and Web sites where they can find out more about what they can do and how to diversify their workforces.

An older workforce also has important implications. Consider the baby boomers, says Losey. By the year 2020, 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. This age group will exert political influence and be powerful consumers, especially in the southwest and southeast, says Losey.

Taxpayer-funded entitlements for older Americans - such as Social Security - are going to change, although it's not clear what the form and timing of changes will be, says Losey. If the generosity of entitlements becomes less, more people are going to work longer to earn longer, reversing a century-long trend. At the same time, those who prudently invested in their 401 (k) plans may retire at 60 or so with a financial security, blanket that allows them to look for or create the jobs they've always wanted.

Eisen agrees that return to work by retired workers "who get tired of golf courses or can't retire quite as they would have liked" will be useful. But, she says, "they're not going to come back in full force. We can't count on retirees' return to work as a strategy to fill all the holes. We'll still need young skilled workers."

Both Losey and Richard Wahlquist, executive vice president, National Association of Temporary Staffing Services (NATSS), Alexandria, Virginia, cite people with disabilities as an under-used segment of the U.S. labor pool. Losey says this group is better educated than ever before; yet 70 percent of Americans with disabilities are unemployed. Although some people are permanently and totally disabled, hundreds of thousands of others can be employed, especially with reasonable accommodation. And, he adds, experience before and after passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act has shown that most reasonable accommodations cost less than a couple hundred dollars.

Technology is also changing the accessibility of labor. Losey points to the growing number of companies that hire overseas because their work can be accomplished online. Now, he says, more online work is moving to the American heartland, where wages are lower than in cities and the work ethic thrives. The December 8, 1997, issue of Time reported that "rural America has enjoyed a net inflow of two million" people this decade, partly because the "Internet and overnight-shipping boom are enabling high-tech industries... to settle in the countryside, creating skilled jobs for workers almost anywhere."

Among the biggest trends for filling labor gaps is the use of contract workers. Wahlquist says that his members meet expected and unexpected labor needs. The industry historically provided people short-term as replacements for vacationing employees and to meet temporary demands of peak periods, seasonal fluctuations, and special projects. Now businesses and associations use contract workers for strategic reasons. They staff for core competencies and outsource other activities.

The new role of outside staffing has provoked a switch from the term temporary help to staffing services employees, and the number of people working in this capacity has grown from just more than 1 million a day in 1991 to 2.3 million at the end of 1996. The practice of temp-to-hire has grown, too. Staffing firms have assumed the role of recruiting and screening applicants who work on a client's site for a predetermined time to test whether the assignment is a good fit.

Annually, about 40 percent of contract personnel get offers for full-time jobs this way. That means staffing services' turnover is high: 9 million to 10 million people a year. But part of the labor pool doesn't want full-time work; a number of people find work-schedule flexibility essential for meeting time demands of their other responsibilities or interests. Part-time or short-term assignments are their required or preferred way of life. They use staffing companies as their agents to optimize their earning abilities and to obtain benefits not otherwise available to them.

Skills testing and standards

So how do organizations begin to build employee skills and competencies to meet today's workforce requirements? Associations, of course, have a long, solid track record of developing skill and certification standards to increase industry expertise and professionalism. But Jeffrey H. Joseph, executive vice president, Center for Workforce Preparation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C., is concerned that the steps being taken to develop a skilled American workforce may not be enough. "Take the political debate over standards and testing: The president, Democrats, and some Republicans want testing to see where our kids score internationally. But House Republicans think that's a bad idea because they don't want the federal government involved in testing, and every state tests anyway," says Joseph. "Yet those tests aren't internationally benchmarked, although we're in this global economy. Parents and kids think that they know enough to be competitors, to have job security, when that's probably not going to be the case... not unless the skills upgrade that young people need actually happens and existing workers get regularly retrained and retooled to the higher standards that they re going to be held accountable for.

"Every state thinks it knows what it's doing," continues Joseph. "But, if for whatever reason - lack of skilled workers here or cheaper tax structures or more competitive trading relationships elsewhere - the economics aren't productive enough in this country, you're talking about a future with not as many jobs or as many high-paying, value-added jobs as we've been used to for a century." He points to the National Skill Standards Board, Washington, D.C., as an industry-led effort "to give a notion of what people need to know."

The Goals 2000: Educate America Act called for formation of NSSB, which is not a federal government agency. The president and congressional leaders appoint board members to represent business, labor, education, state and local government, community groups, and civil rights interests. The secretaries of Labor, Education, and Commerce are nonvoting members. Although several governors consider NSSB an intrusion and have opted out of working with it, most have accepted or welcomed the opportunity to create state-level skill boards.

NSSB doesn't develop standards itself but does encourage others to do so. Sometimes NSSB encourages efforts by awarding grants. For instance, at a November conference sponsored by NSSB and the Texas Skill Standards Board, Austin, an award was announced for the Construction Industry Partnership, which includes the National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.; the AFL-CIO's building and construction trades department; and the American Association of Community, Colleges, Washington, D.C. Partnerships abound in current efforts to ensure an adequate supply of appropriately skilled workers.

With support from NSSB, the American Electronics Association, Washington, D.C., has already worked with 400 technology firms and 2,300 top-performing people and leading executives to develop voluntary skill standards for manufacturing, administration, and customer support in its field. In 1996, AEA opened the Center for Workforce Excellence to promote its standards. The National Grocers' Association, Reston, Virginia; the National Retail Federation, Washington, D.C.; and the American Welding Society, Miami, are among other trade and professional groups developing standards.

Workforce preparation and development

To make sure that their industries or professions have the workers they need, associations are becoming more actively involved in workforce development. (For examples of several association strategies, see the sidebar "Developing Skilled Workers: Association Labor Supply Initiatives.") For instance, Wahlquist says that to avoid unfilled orders, the staffing industry is committed to providing training for skills updates and upgrades.

"We estimate that in 1997 our members provided more than $300 million in training without charge to the individuals who came to work for them," says Wahlquist. "Some staffing services companies are opening more formal schools. Keeping up with hardware and software developments is a challenge. We work with many people reentering the job market, and if they've been out more than six months, they're probably behind in data and word processing releases." He reports that some staffing companies are also getting into highly skilled training in information technology. And some run training centers akin to technical schools. They may offer training to their clients, who enroll their employees. Or a company may train client staff on site, especially if the client organization is converting to new software.

Secunda says that the technical features of his members' specialty outdoor-recreation products distinguish them from high-volume, mass-market counterparts. So members rely on salespeople to explain to customers how those features work and why they're worth having. Most retail salespeople for the products are high school and college students who typically work in a position for less than a year and have little general sales knowledge, much less specific product knowledge. On the other hand, many of them have a fair amount of general knowledge about outdoor recreation.

Secunda says his membership is always walking a fine line in making training investments. "Given the high price points of our products, the retail employee is the critical link to our customer, but when does it become too expensive to invest in an employee that you lose in a short period of time?" he asks. Some manufacturers provide training seminars and in-store sales representative workshops for their retail employees. Sales representatives usually are on call to answer questions, and most stores keep manufacturer-produced print material on hand, so a motivated employee will find resources to draw on.

Commitment to lifelong learning

Joseph cites the military as another example of the need of a particular segment of the modern workforce for continual learning. The majority of the military's workers are part-timers, weekend warriors, says Joseph. So the military is concerned about lifelong learning and having the ability, to have continuous, state-of-the-art training for personnel in all communities. The National Guard now has a new community-based, distance-learning program and will set up training sites nationwide to serve its purposes on evenings and weekends but also to share with associations, chambers of commerce, schools, and other groups that might need the facilities the rest of the week. These sites will be publicized by a new Washington, D.C.-based educational network, the Community Learning and Information Network, for which Joseph serves as vice chairman. Such an approach to workforce development aims to bring workers up to speed and keep them up to speed.

Joseph also is a member of the Commission for a Nation of Lifelong Learners, sponsored by Regents College, Albany, New York; Empire State College, New York City; the American Council on Education, Washington, D.C.; and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, Chicago. Vice President Albert Gore has said that he will use the commission's report, A Nation Learning: Vision for the 21st Century, as the basis for a White House conference this summer to discuss how to enable and institutionalize lifelong learning.

Eisen is also on the commission. "We hear from [NAM] members that business associations rank high on their list of continuing education and training providers," she says. "They'd like to see more from associations: degree programs, certificate programs, specialized training opportunities." As association executives determine what their own organizations can and should do to produce adequate supplies of appropriately skilled workers for their members, they also need to maintain flexibility for dealing with a host of changes and influences yet unknown.

"Work is changing so quickly that people can't keep up. New industries are created, and people need to shift constantly into new disciplines. Somebody has to prepare Americans for these changes, or work will go elsewhere," says Joseph. "Associations represent people who know about the need to develop a working population with 21st-century knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Associations and their members need to be more active because it's become incumbent on employers to help 'grow their own.'"

RELATED ARTICLE: Finding Skilled Workers: Associations As Employers

In their quest to staff associations with skilled workers, executives seem to be encountering a labor situation that reflects the national employment picture. Bernard J. Imming, CAE, president of The Association Consultancy, Alexandria, Virginia, and a former chief elected officer of ASAE, points out that clients anti colleagues in the Washington, D.C., area are finding the labor market tight, particularly for staff with technical know-how. For instance, growing numbers of associations are maintaining Web sites, but when association executives decide to handle that function on staff, they face fairly stiff hiring competition.

Looking at another field, "government relations folks seem to be plentiful in the Washington area because many associations get them from [Capitol] Hill," says Imming. But in D.C., and elsewhere, skilled government relations people can choose a good spot because they're always in demand. Even in the support area, many people may know how to use a computer," says Imming, "but people who know how to use one efficiently, effectively, and productively" represent a smaller supply.

Nancy Schroff, director of human resources, National Society of Professional Engineers, Alexandria, Virginia, has another perspective on labor trends. "In the mid- to late-1980s, many people were put into the market by downsizing. Initially, these were the less qualified, but by the late 1980s, employers were letting good people go. Almost everybody was downsizing; nobody was increasing staff, so the market was flooded. The corporate upswing [that followed] directly and indirectly affected associations, which began to grow and employ good people. In the early to mid-1990s, people with middle-caliber skills were left. Now they're being swept up, and people who are currently employed are hired quickly when they apply for new jobs," says Schroff.

David Secunda, CAE, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America, Boulder, Colorado, finds that skill needs are increasing in the association management profession. "As associations become more specialized, we need more highly educated association professionals. I think association boards are recognizing that an association professional's skills are often more needed than those of an industry person who has percolated to the top of a candidate list," he says. Secunda notes that some industries are more desirable and alluring than others - and that people gravitate toward those industries and their associations. The real difficulty is with industries in decline, he says. Trying to find association professionals to fill their jobs is an uphill battle because the limited number of people with highly developed association management skills often go elsewhere for career-building.

One result of greater competition for skilled association employees is that associations have to be more focused in their advertising for recruiting, says Schroff. A general-circulation newspaper help-wanted ad may be worthwhile. But an advertisement in, for example, the Washington, D.C.-based CEO Job Opportunities Update or placed with ASAE's Career Headquarters will reach a targeted readership, advises Schroff.

Hiring time lines have changed, too. "When lots of people were available, employers wanted font or five candidates to choose from. That isn't realistic anymore. By the time you find a third candidate, the first one - who may have been the best - may be taken," says Schroff. "Managers have to identify what they need, and want, and have to be able to recognize it when it comes through the door and act quickly.

"And associations have to recognize that today's recruiting and retention are marketing-based," continues Schroff. "Managers need to look at their organizations as a product and make sure it's competitive. They have to market it to prospective and current employees. For example, if you offer short- and long-term disability benefits - which isn't done everywhere - do current employees understand what they would lose if they go somewhere without it?" she asks.

One thing associations often have in their favor is the nature of the work that they offer. Michael R. Losey, CAE, president and chief executive officer of the Society for Human Resource Management, Alexandria, Virginia, says that the association community has the appeal of providing interesting work on important issues. Association work often relates to issues that command significant attention within an industry or specialty, and so an employee can "be at the capstone of significant debate," Losey says.

Another strategy that Schroff considers important for attracting and keeping good employees is having competitive salaries across the board. If von give newcomers higher salaries, you offend existing staff and risk having veterans leave, says Schroff. "People will know, and probably faster than you would think. If you have to bring new people in at higher salaries, do something to maintain internal equity and market that to people in-house. Let them know that you're going to do a salary survey every few years - and that you'll compare benefits, too."

And consider not only employees' current skills but also their work potential. Losey takes this position on the "buy or build" debate regarding staff skills: "Why not retrain people for a future need? Go count in downsized companies: Did they materially reduce their need for staff? They didn't. They said, 'Joe, you're out; Sam, you're in. Josephine, you're out; Samantha, you're in.'

"We have to get better at anticipating future requirements," Losey continues. "Activity goes down in one area and up in another. Organizations terminate where it goes down, then hire for where it goes up because the mind-set is that people on the outside are better," he says. "What we're really doing is discriminating against those we know the best."

RELATED ARTICLE: Developing Skilled Workers: Association Labor Supply Initiatives

Associations are increasingly using a variety of methods to help develop the labor supply for the industries and professions that they represent. Here are a handful of examples of such programs.

* Working with national partners and community contacts. Chip Deale, CAE, director of membership, marketing, and communications, National Concrete Masonry Association, Herndon, Virginia, says that with partners such as the Mason Contractors Association of America, Oak Brook, Illinois, NCMA has worked to create apprenticeship programs. NCMA also works with and encourages members to find local solutions. For instance, Garry Brown, human resources manager for NCMA member Oberfield's Inc. Concrete Prodnets, located in Ohio, says his company helped form a business consortium. The consortium provides a 95-hour training and education program for communities with unemployed or underemployed people. Program participants tour companies and learn about teamwork, communication, quality, and safety. Eight consortium members guarantee participants a job interview, and the consortium places 70 percent of participants.

* Developing flexible curricula and credentials. Charles K. Unger, CAE, is president of the Alexandria, Virginia-based Orthotics and Prosthetics National Office - which represents the American Orthotics and Prosthetic Association, the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, and the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics. These groups are concerned with the provision that could be taught along with other allied health disciplines. Students' hands-on work for fabrication of devices was shifted into the residency required before sitting for certification. Because this reduced the need for expensive laboratory equipment, more universities investigated and began orthotics and prosthetics programs. Secondly, after a certification board "Scope of Practice" study, the board recommended that, rather than having one level of certification, different levels of care be provided by people with different levels of credential. The new levels allow credentialed individuals to perform specific tasks under a certified practitioner's supervision.

* Teaching at community colleges. Casey Boyle, executive director, New Mexico Propane Gas Association, Albuquerque, says that besides working with a local coalition to expose students to careers in the coalition's trades, association members teach classes at community college facilities. Students not already employed as propane gas marketers may sit through a class for free, and some have done that, learning and spreading the word about careers in that field.

* Offering student memberships. Angela Broderick, CAE, manager of membership marketing and development, American Academy of Family Physicians, Kansas City, Missouri, reports that her association has student-interest initiatives to educate medical students about family practice and encourage them to join the field. Student memberships have been a mechanism for keeping students informed and involved.

* Building interest among future employees. William I. Knopf, executive vice president, Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Iowa, Des Moines, says that his state chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, D.C., has a workforce development initiative for elementary school students statewide. He believes that to get people to consider construction as a viable career alternative, it's best to start them thinking about it young. For first-through third-graders, contractors make brief school presentations anti hand out a Construction Is Fun coloring book - more than 20,000 copies so far. Last summer AGC had about 150 girls and boys attend a new residential Iowa Construction Careers Camp. Fourth- and fifth-graders came for a week; then sixth- and seventh-graders came. Along with traditional camp recreation such as swimming and archery were field trips to job sites, a limestone quarry, and a ready-mix plant. Some AGC members donated funds to sponsor the weekly costs, while others donated tools, materials, hard hats, and t-shirts for the campers. Many sponsors and parents of campers attended a celebration the final night. In all, 230 of 400 AGC members participated in the camp program. A 10-minute video showing camp highlights is helping AGC market the program for next summer.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Future of Work

Recognizing that workforce issues and other broad, external trends will shape the future environment for associations, ASAE and the ASAE Foundation have launched a major scanning project, to be completed this August. The foundation commissioned futurist Jennifer Jarratt, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank and policy research company Coates and Jarratt, to summarize the 25 major trends that will affect society. Panels of ASAE members will convene to review the trends and to develop implications and impacts on associations. Results will include a variety of user-friendly tools and products to help association executives and their volunteer leaders shape the most favorable future for their organizations. Products will be targeted specifically to small, medium, and large trade associations and individual membership organizations, convention and visitors bureaus, and the hospitality industry.

For more information, call the ASAE Foundation, (202) 626-2854, or send a message by e-mail to foundation@asaenet.org.

RELATED ARTICLE: Resources

Check out these resources for more information regarding labor issues and worker skills.

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; phone: (202) 219-6871; Web site: www.doleta.gov. Under the "Employers" heading, see

* Finding qualified employees

* Incentives to employers

* Professional societies (as source of employees)

* Workforce development - school-to-work, apprenticeship, and skills standards

National Skill Standards Board; 1441 L St., N.W., Suite 9000, Washington, DC 20005-3512; phone: (202) 254-8628; fax: (202) 254-8646; Web site: www. nssb.org.

A Nation Learning: Vision for the 21st Century, a report of the Commission for a Nation of Lifelong Learners. Up to 10 copies for cost of shipping and handling (1 copy, $5; 2-4 copies, $6; 5-7, $8; 8-10, $9). Write to Regents College, c/o Delores DeThomasis, Dept. NLL, 7 Columbia Cir., Albany, NY 12203; phone: (518) 464-8500.

The Skilled Workforce Shortage, a December 1997 report from the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C. A summary of the report will be available in March from NAM's Web site, www.nam.org/workforce/survey. Or call NAM, (202) 637-3000.

Editor's note: This first of two articles about the U.S. workforce looks at major national labor trends and the challenge to many association executives to position their organizations to help develop a highly skilled workforce. Next month: how associations are using school-to-work and other employment initiatives to develop supplies of skilled workers.

Diane E. Kirrane is a business writer and policy consultant Washington, D.C.
COPYRIGHT 1998 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:includes related articles on association labor supply initiatives; U.S. labor workforce
Author:Kirrane, Diane E.
Publication:Association Management
Date:Mar 1, 1998
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