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AFS and FEF: Attracting the Next Generation

Doug Kurkul

One of the yearly highlights in the metalcasting industry is the Foundry Educational Foundation (FEF) Industry Conference, held every November in Chicago. The 2017 conference was no exception. The event brings together large numbers of students who are preparing for jobs and internships in our industry, along with representatives of many foundries. The energy level is high as scholarships are presented, students from around the continent network with one another, and employers get to know some of the best and brightest young people planning to enter the industry.

FEF is the metalcasting industry’s link to colleges and universities in North America. All of FEF’s efforts are focused on attracting the very best students to a career in metalcasting. The foundation is led by a dedicated board of directors, whose love for the foundry industry is evident with every conversation that occurs during the College Industry Conference.

The American Foundry Society (AFS) has a longstanding relationship with FEF that is growing closer through increased collaboration and coordination. We at AFS understand that our member companies and individuals cannot be successful in the long run unless FEF is successful in its mission of attracting the best students to our industry. In turn, FEF cannot optimize its success without a vibrant metalcasting sector, whose ability to persevere, grow and prosper is strengthened thanks to AFS advocacy, education, innovation and research programs.

This work is particularly germane at a time when many foundries are looking to hire more employees at all levels of the organization. Beyond collaborating with FEF, AFS works to attract and retain the next generation of metalcasting industry employees in other ways, as well. Our chapters frequently present metalcasting demonstrations to junior high and high school students. AFS publicizes metalcasting careers through the AFS Melting Point website and publication, girls in engineering, mathematics and science outreach, Manufacturing Day activities, and scholarships. Likewise, AFS will soon unveil a new website, which will communicate more clearly the tremendous careers available in our industry for those with the right skills.

College students studying metalcasting benefit from AFS student memberships, student chapters, and casting competitions, which increase their exposure to the industry. Happily, a record number of students attended the last AFS Metalcasting Congress.

Upon graduation, these students are eligible for a free first-year individual membership in AFS, and they are encouraged to explore Future Leaders in Metalcasting, and AFS chapter and committee participation. This is part of a career-long opportunity for enrichment through involvement in AFS.

As workers from the Baby-Boom generation continue to retire—to the tune of 10,000 per day—important jobs are becoming available, and our industry is no exception. Through the combined work of AFS and FEF and the hundreds of volunteers in the two organizations, there is a pipeline of exceptional young people looking to invest their entire careers in our industry.

Click here to see this story as it appears in the December 2017 issue of Modern Casting