John Ratzenberger's NBT, FMA join forces to encourage youth to pursue manufacturing careers

February 23, 2009

A new entity dedicated to inspiring America's youth to consider careers in manufacturing and respond to a growing need in this country has been created through the partnership of two leading foundations.

Founded by actor, director and producer John Ratzenberger, the Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs Foundation (NBTF) is joining forces with the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA) Foundation to create one charitable organization called Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs, The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (NBT). The foundation will be based in Rockford, Ill., the headquarters for FMA.

The dynamic initiative allows NBT to broaden operations and increasecharitable activities that include providing grants to educational institutions offering manufacturing camps and awarding scholarships to students pursuing manufacturing careers.

Former FMA Foundation executives Gerald Shankel and Terrence Egan will direct the new organization, serving as president and director, respectively, and John Ratzenberger will continue to serve on the governing board and lead the Foundation's national public policy and media campaigns.

"This partnership combines John Ratzenberger's voice and passion on anissue so dear to his heart with FMA's infrastructure and resources to spread the message that manufacturing is a viable career option," said Shankel. "We will be even more effective working together to spark interest among young people in the industry and help revitalize the future of manufacturing in America.

"As a champion of manufacturing, John Ratzenberger will have a greatimpact on fostering media coverage on this quest and help us spread the word that it's honorable to work with your hands," said Egan. "The focus is on inspiring young people to ultimately explore the manufacturing career path by getting them to tinker, fix and make stuff, and dreamabout inventing things. The groundwork we've laid and the programs we've implemented in the past will continue to be the core of our work."

Ratzenberger will contribute his extensive experience with Americanmanufacturers and valuable relationships in the entertainment, political, social and corporate arenas.

"I can think of no enterprise more worthy than one devoted to inspiring the next generation of engineers, builders and manufacturers," said Ratzenberger. "I am proud to join forces with FMA and know that with each child who attends one of our camps or receives one of our scholarships, we are rebuilding America's foundation one tinkerer at a time.

"We must encourage kids when they graduate from high school to consider manufacturing as a career," added Ratzenberger. "Part of the problem is the media and Hollywood often portray manufacturing and anyone who works with their hands in a poor light. But the industrial arts have always taken precedence over the fine arts ... remember, someone had to build the ceiling before Michelangelo could go to work. We need to do better at informing the next generation and their parents that working a skilled job with your hands can be rewarding financially and fulfilling personally."

The new organization will feature an 18-member board of directors; six members from the former NBTF will join the 12 former FMA Foundation board members.

Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs: The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl., offers grants to not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions introducing young people to metal forming and fabricating careers in manufacturing, provides funding to organizations starting or expanding manufacturing camps for youth, and issues scholarships to students at colleges and trade schools pursuing careers in manufacturing. More information on NBT is available by visiting www.NutsAndBoltsFoundation.org.

NBT now has a fundraising option for people with cell phones and text messaging whose carriers are AT&T, Nextel, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. Dialing 90999 and sending the text message "123" automatically donates $5 to the foundation through a program run by the MGive organization. The donation appears on the caller's cell phone bill.

Based in Rockford, Ill., the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, is a professional organization with more than 2,300 members working together to improve the metal forming and fabricating industry.



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