Grabbing a hoodie in one hand and blue- and white-collared shirts in the other, Andrew Crowe is bringing youth and manufacturing communities together as part of his New American Manufacturing Renaissance (AMR) Tour, a nine-city speaking engagement that culminates with his appearance at IMTS 2022.
“I feel like a dad that’s trying to wrangle kids at the dinner table so they can have a polite conversation,” says Crowe. “I want to connect manufacturers to their communities and make them the tide that lifts all boats.”
A former machinist who is now an instructor of advanced manufacturing technology at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, Crowe knows how manufacturing can open possibilities and change lives. Seeing such great potential yet keenly aware of the disconnects, he created the Elevate Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, a program that brings together companies, educators, and the next generation of aspiring youth to fill critical manufacturing jobs.
In an effort to raise awareness and funding for the program (he was paying for some things out of his own pocket), Crowe started speaking about the subject whenever and wherever he could, including Gardner Business Media’s Tops Shops Expo 2021 event.
Because of his credibility with every constituency involved, Crowe is now a much sought-after speaker. He has been dubbed a leader of the American Manufacturing Renaissance, and it’s a title he embraces.
“I hold the future of manufacturing above everything, and the next-generation workforce is the future of manufacturing,” Crowe says. “We all need to do a better job of reaching the next generation. The AMR tour is just part of what I’m doing to ensure manufacturing has a bright future in America.”
Crowe hits on some common themes in his AMR tour, which began in April:
Students are completely unaware of manufacturing jobs because they are disconnected from how things are made.
Kids that do see the light often want to be entrepreneurs.
Manufacturers who are desperate for young blood need to learn how to reach disadvantaged communities.
Schools need to connect students with technical careers earlier. “I wish I saw IMTS when I was in middle school. IMTS shows you what’s real, what’s coming, and what you can dream of,” he says.
Manufacturers want diversity, but they need to know how to create a welcoming environment that works for everyone to retain workers.
Crowe frankly discusses today's challenges, but he always communicates in a way that translates into showing others how they can create positive outcomes. He is the modern, urban version of a revival minister preaching the gospel of Made in America.
“Seeing how things were made lit a big fire under me, and I believe manufacturing can turn America around at a grassroots level,” he says. “We can have a resurgence of small and medium job shops if we just sit down at the table and talk about how we can elevate each other.”
The New American Manufacturing Renaissance Tour stops in eight cities, including Wichita, Memphis, Detroit/Flint, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and St. Louis, and it culminates at IMTS 2022 in Chicago, September12-17.
At IMTS 2022, Crowe will speak on a workforce panel at the Job Shops Workshop-Day 1, on the main stage in the Grand Concourse, and at the Smartforce Student Summitwhile engaging in live interviews with IMTS+ at IMTS.
Register at IMTS.com/Register.