Valley business hoping to inspire young people to work in manufacturing

PHOENIX - A Valley business is hoping to inspire the next generation of manufacturing workers. 

"You can learn other skills and still be a valuable member of the community without having a college degree," said Michele Clarke, CEO of Valley Forge & Bolt.

The company, which employs around 80 people and produces industrial fasteners that are shipped around the world, has been in the Phoenix-area since the 1970s. 

"We make a quality product, and we stand by our product," Clarke said. 

Valley Forge is among thousands of manufacturing companies across the country offering tours this month to lure students and young people to the profession. 

The National Association of Manufacturers estimates there are 500,000 open manufacturing positions in the U.S. By 2025; they anticipate an additional 3.5-million jobs will be available. 

"Two-million of those are going to be unfilled if we don't do something about the current skills gap that we have," said NAM COO Todd Boppell. 

Jose Molina, a student, was among those taking part in a tour at Valley Forge. 

"There's a lot more to it than meets the eye," he said. 

Clarke told ABC15 the business is now as much about technology as it is manual labor. 
"The innovation that this country was created with can't be lost," she said. 

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