Are Opportunities in Manufacturing going unfilled because of Misinformation?
Pristine stainless steel and futuristic looking computer consoles. Robotic appearing appendages and crisp white walls.
Respondents to polls about manufacturing rarely use these aforementioned descriptors when asked how they imagine a manufacturing plant to be.
While modern U.S. manufacturing is extremely high-tech, and often performed in "clean rooms," for many, the image of a manufacturing plant is negative and outdated. Unfortunately, this misconception directly contributes to the lack of people pursuing vocational training and subsequent careers in manufacturing.
Writing for Manufacturing.net, Michael Collins says that the negative view of a career in manufacturing has led parents, teachers, and counselors to discourage students from this pursuit. Schools have discontinued shop classes and state legislatures limit the amount of funding for vocational training at community colleges.
This is a problem, says Collins, one that has contributed (as we've reported in the past) to a dearth of prepared individuals to take advantage of manufacturing opportunities that currently exist, or will exist in the near future.
It may come as a surprise to some, given the unemployment rate, that opportunities currently exist. Collins cites the need to replace 10 million manufacturing workers over the coming years as an indicator of an array of opportunities – which include positions both on the floor and in engineering, purchasing, sales, and management.
Without a well-prepared, trained, and enthusiastic workforce, however, those 10 million jobs may go elsewhere.
Collins suggests that one solution is for Congress to approve funding for community college vocational programs in high-growth industries.
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