Senator Peters holds a Town Hall Meeting at AlphaUSA

December 2019

He first visited AlphaUSA in 2014. He made his second stop December 2019. AlphaUSA Vice President, David Lawrence introduced Senator Gary Peters. “We are delighted the Senator has returned to AlphaUSA for another visit to share with us about his work and his challenges in Washington and to hear from us about modern-day manufacturing and how it plays an important role in Michigan’s industry and the state’s economy,” said Lawrence.

Senator Peters held a Town Hall meeting at the AlphaUSA plant in Livonia.

“I am glad to be here to see the work you are doing in manufacturing,” said Senator Peters. “I am really focused on manufacturing because I truly believe you cannot be a great country unless you make stuff and that is exactly what you do here. You are one of the leading manufacturers in Michigan. I wanted to see first-hand what you are doing here.”

In the committees he serves, Senator Peters is focused on the Skilled Trades and good paying jobs. “We want to see how everyone has an opportunity to learn these skills in our school system,” said Peters. “We need put resources into our young people so they have the skills to go into manufacturing.”

Serving on the Armed Services Committee, Senator Peters is working on legislation that would help veterans get into apprenticeship programs and training, they need to make that transition from military to civilian life.

Serving on the Commerce Committee, he has his pulse on the automotive industry. “We have to make sure the auto industry continues to be strong and vibrant, particularly in Michigan.”

Q and A with the AlphaUSA team

Some AlphaUSA team members asked questions of the Senator. He addressed a variety issues including impeachment and the 2020 election. However, the focus at AlphaUSA is manufacturing and jobs.

How are we going to educate the current and new workforce in the new technology?

“We have to build on the existing skills you already have,” he said. “We need to enhance those skills. We have too much of a focus on four-year college degrees and the jobs of the future or the jobs here in manufacturing. We need to be put more money in technological careers and you should be able to leave high school and walk into a good-paying job. Schools getting rid of woodshop and metal shop was a big mistake. The next generation needs to understand the mechanics of what toy you use every day here. We need better high school programs and better apprenticeship programs. We are looking into: how can the government help with the training programs?

Senator Peters acknowledged that the education programs of the future need to be more diverse and that math and other sciences need to better interact with each other. There has been an attack on science and distrust of sciences. What can we do move forward to re-establish faith in the sciences?

“We can’t put people in silos in the sciences,” he said. “It has to be integrated and yet people are not trusting science. People need to be exposed to many things. We have to use our innate creativity and figure out how to put things together. I don’t believe robots are going to take over. They may make things more productive but you need to have knowledge on how to work with machines.”

In a brief interview with the Senator he said, “AlphaUSA does incredible work in manufacturing. Manufacturing is the heart and soul of a great country. I am working on strengthening manufacturing in Michigan and the way to do this is to get out and talk to those people in manufacturing, doing it every day and ask about their challenges and issues. An issue that has come up in the need for additional training so today’s workers can deal with a rapidly changing workforce and new technology.”

Senator Peters explained that one goal is to ensure today’s workforce can out compete the rest of the world. “I always love coming to manufacturing facilities and seeing manufacturing in progress. I wish more young people would come see what I see because when you come to a plant like Alpha, you see that it is a cool place to be and they have a vision of what their fathers and grandfathers told them. It is not like that anymore. The floors are clean. It is a good work environment. You work with cool machines and you make cool stuff.”

He addressed how some students are not on the four-year college track. “And, they don’t need to be,” he said. “Students don’t need to a four-year degree to have real rewarding jobs that lead to middle-class life styles for you family. You can pursue your version the American dream and you can do it in manufacturing.”

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