A recent survey of manufacturing executives by Deloitte & The Manufacturing Institute shows that nearly 600,000 skilled manufacturing positions are unfilled due to a shortage of qualified workers. Is this a surprise? OR have you experienced this at your company?
Well here’s another cheery thought……..56% of manufacturing executives expect the problem to get worse in the next 3 to 5 years as baby boomers continue to retire. While this skills gap is a global problem, it is of particular concern in the US where advanced manufacturing is seen as one way to drive national prosperity and economic gains.
Advanced Manufacturing has many definitions but it is most commonly referred to as the use of high-tech processes, often involving factory automation. Nanotechnology, direct digital fabrication and micro-manufacturing are a few of the technologies that fit into this ‘advanced manufacturing’ category.
The lack of skilled workers could be one of the greatest obstacles to pushing U.S. manufacturers ahead of foreign competition. One reason is that the US education system isn’t keeping pace with the nation’s changing education needs. Another problem is that unlike countries like Germany, the U.S. has shied away from creating any type of national industrial policy. Training for innovation, manufacturing career awareness and foundation skills & competencies are also contributing factors.
A Google search for advanced manufacturing identified two schools on the first page of results; Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana and Blackhawk Technical College in Wisconsin. The second page of results offered only Everett Community College in Washington state and Purdue University. Are these results indicative of our current situation?
In June of this year, President Obama announced the goal of credentialing 500,000 community college students with skills certifications aligned to manufacturers hiring needs. How can the US manufacturing community help in making sure that this happens? These skilled workers are needed now!
What do you think can be done – or should be done? This is an important issue for our future and we look forward to your comments. And thank you for subscribing to EVERYTHING’S CONNECTED.
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