In a hiring mood: U.S. Steel CEO says steelmaker needs to replace aging workers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After years of downsizing, a profitable U.S. Steel Corp. is ready to start hiring again, Chief Executive Officer John Surma said yesterday.

“In our company, our industry and in manufacturing in general, we have the one thing that people entering the work force want, which is opportunity,” Surma said

While that’s good news for Pittsburgh, where this newspaper is, I found some of the tail of the article of more general interest.

Both Surma and Engler cited a need for the United States to better train young workers to meet the competitive needs of the future for an economy that is becoming more global.

“In my time in business, about 30 years, everything has become more competitive, faster, harder. Competition is tougher. The world is getting smaller and everybody is in everybody’s business these days,” Surma said. “We’ve got to be bringing in people who are better than we are today or we’re going to fall behind in the race.”

Engler was in Pittsburgh to promote NAM’s current legislative agenda, which the organization claims will reduce business costs, encourage investment, create jobs and give the economy a $1 trillion boost over the next five years.

The NAM plan includes:

Enacting a national energy strategy to increase domestic supply, stabilize prices and encourage the development of new, clean sources of power. Those elements are contained in the Bush administration energy plan that has been approved by the U.S. House and sent to the Senate.

Approving “Clear Skies” legislation that would streamline Environmental Protection Agency rules that NAM says hinder the investment in new technologies by utility companies.

Ending asbestos litigation with a victim compensation program.

Passing a federal highway bill to boost spending on roads and bridges.

Modernizing telecommunication law to help speed deployment of broadband for voice, video and data.

Taking a cue from smaller manufacturers that belong to NAM, Engler also said the United States needs to reduce the nation’s $162 billion trade deficit with China.

Engler called the association’s political agenda doable.

“I think they can all be done,’ he said. “I think Congress is fully capable of doing hard things.”

You can read more of Engler’s message on the NAM web site. We also have links to the NAM web site on the left, under Solid Metal Links.

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