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Staying Committed to the Young People Entering Our Industry

Doug Kurkul, CEO of AFS

March 2021

Now entering its 13th month, the pandemic has affected every aspect of life—including the professional development of young people aspiring to careers in metalcasting. It has resulted in restricted access to university labs and fewer internship opportunities. Job offers were sometimes delayed as foundries navigated the complex challenges of a public-health crisis and the sudden, unanticipated recession. Through it all, the members and staff of AFS are remaining steadfast in supporting the career growth of these young people, now and for years to come. 

Doug Kurkul
Doug Kurkul

Exceptional Career Opportunities. Many things have changed over the last year, but one that remains unchanged is the fact that our $44 billion metalcasting industry will continue to offer rewarding careers across a spectrum of job titles for decades to come. 

The AFS Economic Impact Analysis in 2020 found that metalcasting employs 167,000 people directly, and supports 490,000 jobs when considering direct, indirect and induced impacts, including supplier jobs. An interactive map on the AFS website illustrates the economic impact and jobs totals by state and by congressional district. 

Today’s foundries are investing in Foundry Industry 4.0 technologies and process improvements that boost productivity, enhance safety and the environment, and sharpen our global competitiveness. About half of the Baby Boom generation has yet to retire, and in most cases, they will do so in the next six-to-12 years. In metalcasting, this trend means that not only are opportunities available now, but ample opportunities for growth and advancement will continue over time—for those with the right skills and a good work orientation.  

The AFS Commitment to Career Development. AFS has a longstanding commitment to support career development for everyone, with a special focus on students and young people. 
Most immediately, AFS is providing all AFS student chapter members and key professors with free All-Access Experience passes to the April 12–22 virtual Metalcasting Congress 2021. This is a $250 to $400 value offered at no cost. Imagine the benefit to students, who may choose from more than 60 technical, innovation, and management sessions—presented by many of the best minds in our industry—with no travel costs.  

AFS continues to sponsor the AFS-FEF Student Technology Competition; to fund scholarship programs; and to support the AFS-FEF Outstanding Professor Award. The 42 AFS student chapters and their members have access to an AFS staff liaison, Katelyn Stanek, who can support their involvement and success. When student chapter members graduate, they receive a complimentary first year of individual membership in AFS. Wherever possible, AFS works with our Future Leaders and Women in Metalcasting programs, plus our technical and management committees, as well as our 39 regional chapters, to help these new individual members not only feel welcomed, but also to find their place in the AFS community. Many young people will find that AFS will be an important part of their career development over many decades, as so many have through the years. 

Attracting Future Employees to Metalcasting. AFS has developed tools to help foundries educate target audiences about the rewarding careers available in metalcasting. The fast-paced, five-minute video featuring a dozen young people telling why they love working in the industry has already been viewed more than 4,000 times on the YouTube and AFS websites. The We-Love-Metalcasting web page on the AFS site serves a similar purpose. Our Melting Point newsletter and website help young students understand casting and the careers we offer. Furthermore, once the pandemic is behind us, AFS chapters will be in full swing with Foundry-in-a-Box demonstrations.

We look forward to collaborating with all Modern Casting readers to encourage careers in metalcasting!