The U.S. must strip off the rust that neglect has left on its vocational education system. But many are instead content to point fingers: at kids, for not realizing the benefits of a manufacturing career; at schools, for not focusing enough on STEM education; at pop culture, for portraying factories as desolate; or at our nation’s leaders and counselors, for suggesting that a four-year degree is the only path to success. But assigning blame won’t prepare a workforce. A strong economy is essential to attracting more to manufacturing careers. But there are other policy proposals that could support the work that community colleges, vocational high schools, labor-business partnerships, and apprenticeship programs are doing to prepare the workforce of the future. Will we follow best practices and institute them?
Create the jobs, and they will come: Given the tools needed to succeed, America’s manufacturing workforce can rebound.
Our Workers and their Skills Drive our Economy
Public policies must provide opportunities for new jobs and a system of training and skills to support them.
Creating a Skilled Manufacturing Workforce
Stacey Jarrett Wagner offers solutions for AAM in ReMaking America.
Why Claims of Skills Shortages in Manufacturing Are Overblown
High manufacturing unemployment is more likely driven by inadequate demand than a skills mismatch.