No Matter the Grade, It’s Easy to Make Your School Year American-Made

Erica Maddox

Erica Maddox Social Media Intern, AAM

No matter what grade you (or your little ones) are, it’s easy to find school supplies that are also American-made. From crayons to dorm room bedding, we’ve found must-have Made in America items for elementary school youngsters to college co-eds. 

Elementary School

Lunchbox and Backpack: Gator Tots, a family-operated business out of Ohio, makes lunchboxes and backpacks that are perfect for young children. Owned by a former fourth grade teacher and her husband, Gator Tots can personalize, customize, and embroider any lunchbox or backpack that your child picks out. Each backpack and lunchbox is either printed with your child’s name or monogrammed with his or her initials, and you can choose the fonts and colors to make it just the way your child wants it. With these personalized backpacks and lunchboxes, your kid will have the cutest backpack or lunchbox in school. Gator Tots can even do embroidering the same day as ordered — and usually ships within the same or next business day.

Crayons:  Crayola Crayons first sold its box of eight crayons for 5 cents back in 1903. Today, Crayola still makes its famous crayons in Easton, Pa., although the box now includes 24 crayons. Many other Crayola products are also made in the United States, including markers, watercolors, and finger paint. These are a back to school must-have! 

Glue: Who doesn’t need good old fashioned Elmer’s Glue? It’s another must-have item for arts and crafts projects in elementary school. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Elmer’s Glue offers a complete line of glue for school, crafts, home repairs, and more — and the company’s classic bottle of school glue is still Made in the USA.

High School

Notebook: High schoolers take a lot of notes — so make sure to stock up on some high-quality notebooks. Better yet, make note taking fun by customizing your notebooks! Manufactured in Durham, N.C., Bound makes personal notebooks that are perfect for any subject. Made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, Bound notebooks are individually produced and customized, made one-at-a-time and by hand.  The company uses quality materials, completed with a sturdy binding process, to make sure your notebook can keep up with hectic school activities.

Tough Traveler Ltd.

Pens: You need new pens for your new notebooks! Although headquartered in Japan, Pilot Pens are manufactured in Jacksonville, Fla., including the company’s popular line of Pilot G2 Premium Gel Ink Rolling Ball pens. These affordable pens are offered in a variety of colors and can be purchased at most major office supply stores or other chains.

Backpack: Tough Traveler Ltd. has been manufacturing high quality backpacks for over 40 years. With different pockets for books, holders for water, durable zippers, and made from a waterproof material, the company’s backpacks are sure to last throughout your time in high school.  Privately owned and manufactured in upstate New York, Tough Traveler is passionate about making their products here in the USA. The best school designs are the T-Double Cay and Toucom backpacks — and as a plus, they can also be used for outdoor activities.


Dorm Room Bedding: Congratulations, you’ve made it to college! Say goodbye to your bed at home and hello to the wonderful world of dorms! Don’t worry, dorms aren’t so bad if you have the right bedding — and better yet, American-made bedding.  American Made Dorm & Home makes luxury bedding that is perfect to spice up any dorm room, including American-made sheets, duvets, comforters, curtains, accent pillows and more. It’s not only great for dorms, but also great for apartments; the company offers a wide range of dust ruffles, shower curtains, window valances and more. Even better, the company will ship anywhere in the United States, so you do not have to worry about lugging big bedding around on move in day.

American Made Dorm & Home

Shower Caddy: Carrying shampoo, soap, and conditioner to the shared bathroom… no thanks! Grab an American-made shower caddy and give yourself a free hand!  Made by the Container Store, this shower caddy is big enough to store all your shower supplies. The side compartments are perfect for multiple bottles of shampoos and body washes, while in the center, the three smaller compartments are great for your toothbrush and razor. With an easy to carry grip, this caddy is perfect for anyone who shares a bathroom in the dorm.  This caddy is made of polypropylene, and has vents at the bottle so the water drains out and keeps your shower supplies moisture free. 

Rug: Now that you have your cute college bedding, you need a rug to cover up that floor and make things a bit cozier. Luckily, Dorm Smart offers American-made rugs with different patterns to make your room your own.  Fun Flooring Rugs aren’t only attractive, but they are durable and functional. The rugs are available in different colors, designs, and sizes, and are 100 percent machine washable — and designed to retain their shape and color. They also are easy to roll up and store between moving.

All Ages

Pencils: Everyone of all grades needs new pencils!  General Pencil has been manufacturing in America since 1889, and has been a family owned and operated business for six generations. Made from recycled materials and in Jersey City, N.J., General Pencil is glad to be supporting the American economy while also being environmentally conscious. You can buy these handcrafted pencils in almost any craft store.

General Pencil Company, Inc.

Folders: Manufactured in Rochester, N.Y., Nicky’s Folders make bringing paper to and from class easy.  Don’t head back to school with paper folders that rip —Nicky’s plastic folders will last much longer and hold as many papers as you need.  The company offers a standard two-pocket folder and a 10-in-1 folder, which has 10 folders covered by 1 big folder. Nicky’s Folders are tear resistant and easy to clean, too.  As the company says, Nicky’s Folders “last the whole school YEAR.” You can find them at retailers like Walgreens or online.

Binders: Naked Binder is redesigning the office supply world by creating binders that are 100 percent eco-friendly. Made in Des Moines, Iowa, the binders are designed to last for over 10 years, and to function better than any regular binder. Naked Binder products are 100 percent recyclable and even biodegradable post-consumer, and the company avoids using toxins in manufacturing.

Have any additional American-made school supply suggestions? Email us at Happy Schooling! 


Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

More ...

There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work