According to a recent survey on the American manufacturing workforce, a highly skilled, flexible workforce ranked second in a list of the top three drivers of future business success in the next two to three years. However, the study also found that many companies rely on traditional approaches and old tactics even in the face of higher aspirations to do better. Learn how new approaches to workforce development can make a difference and hear from practitioners who have put them into action with improved results. A panel of subject matter experts will share their insights on these and other opportunities at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Manufacturing Excellence Conference co-located with Pack Expo on Nov. 1 and 2 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Panelists include:
Jennifer McNelly, senior vice president, The Manufacturing Institute – Affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers:In January 2008, Jennifer McNelly joined The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit, non-partisan affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Since assuming this role, McNelly has supported the Institute’s efforts to launch and implement a strategic national agenda on education reform and workforce development, innovation support and services, and research on behalf of U.S. manufacturers. McNelly is the chief architect of one of the Institute’s flagship reform efforts, the NAM-endorsed Advanced Manufacturing Skills Certification System. The System is a set of nationally portable, industry-recognized manufacturing skills certifications now influencing secondary and post-secondary education reform efforts in more than 20 states.

Pamela S. Stroko, vice president, management and organizational development, Kraft Foods Inc.:Pamela Stroko applies an innovative and creative approach to talent management, aligning enterprise strategy with strategies for building people capability across the organization. Over her career, she has developed deep expertise in all aspects of talent management, learning and leadership development, and employee engagement. She is a seasoned executive coach, having worked with a number of established c-level executives as well as developing leaders. She is well versed in executing assessments at all leadership levels, including the c-suite, and employing the results to enrich succession and organization performance. Stroko is a recognized leader in the talent management arena, and in her executive roles have focused on identifying critical priorities, aligning people and resources behind those priorities, driving timely execution of targeted action plans, and producing measurable business results.

D. Joel Whalen, effective communication, Kellstadt Center for Sales Leadership, DePaul University:Whalen is academic director of the sales leadership program, the largest sales education program in the United States, at Chicago's DePaul University, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, which is consistently ranked in the Top 10 by U.S. News and World Report, and, the largest accredited graduate school of business in the world since 1986. He is an associate professor of marketing and holds a Ph.D. in marketing communications and a master’s degree in communication science from Florida State University. He received his bachelor of science in broadcast journalism at the University of Florida.

For more information about all the sessions at the GMA Manufacturing Excellence Conference go to: