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The Future of Manufacturing

June 3, 2015
welder mentoring

When you think about the manufacturing industry, what comes to mind?  Some people reflect on the days of the past, when the U.S. economy seemed full of countless opportunities. Others remain hopeful in imagining a future that encompasses a revival of such. If you agree with the latter, you’ll be surprised to learn that the time for a manufacturing comeback is now… right now.

With more manufacturing companies emerging to produce the goods that make our world go around, there is also a growing need for skillful employees. Unfortunately, the demand to fill these jobs is severely unmet.

The Problem: A Massive Skills Gap

A recent report from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute cautions that in just 10 years from now in 2015, there could be a massive skills gap that may result in nearly 2 million manufacturing jobs being vacant. Some may wonder how this industry could encounter such a dramatic imbalance. The report contributes several key factors that may be at fault when considering this shortage.

Among these are: accelerated industry growth, retirement, and a lack of training. The report also notes that during the time period between 2003 and 2013, many manufacturers cut back on critical training opportunities.

The Future of Manufacturing: Creating Solutions

While the manufacturing industry has had its ups and downs, there is now an abundance of promising job opportunities for those who may be interested (and qualified). Recent initiatives have been put into place by local government entities, schools, and manufacturing facilities alike to prepare the next league of manufacturing personnel.  These initiatives aim to provide hands-on training and awareness.

Take for instance, the unlikely collaboration between Milwaukee Area Technical College and the local Department of Corrections. In a new program, the two partnered to teach offenders to become CNC (computer numerical control) operators.  In this program, 48 offenders will learn the trade during a time period of 14 weeks.

Additional programs are emerging that primarily focus on educating high school and college students.  ManuFest is a new expo that aims to bridge the gap between students and manufacturing.  The fair recently held its second event at Souderdon Area High School this past March. Eager students had the chance to meet with company reps, explore the latest machinery, and learn about what career paths exist in the field.

Programs like this help to change the face of manufacturing by bringing it into the 21st century. It draws a connection between technology and the products around it.

At Ardel Engineering, we have worked with students, who have reached out to us, providing them information for theses and more. In addition, we offer work-study and shadowing opportunities at our facilities for students.  It’s our way of showing our commitment to our local community, as well as our optimism for the future of the manufacturing industry.  We know that with the right amount of effort, we can do our part to promote growth and provide solutions to help fill in the gap.

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