My new colleague, Kristin Hyla, reflects on her personal experience with career choices and the challenges manufacturers face attracting young talent in today’s economy:
Did you ever envision yourself working in a manufacturing job?
Personally, when I was in high school in 2003, the manufacturing industry was completely foreign to me. If you would have asked me, I would have envisioned a manufacturing job as tiresome, low-paying and dirty. Who even knew there were options other than a four-year college degree that could lead to a good job?
According to “Addressing Today’s Skills Gap in Manufacturing“, a recent study conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 60% of people polled showed great interest in a manufacturing job for themselves. Even better, there are over 600,000 manufacturing jobs currently waiting to be filled!
So why are over half of all manufacturers struggling to fill positions?
There is a gap between the skills needed to do the job and those of the job seeker. This skills gap is expected to take the biggest toll on skilled production jobs and is expected to broaden over time. According to Deloitte, the U.S. needs to position manufacturing with talent to aggressively compete globally; growth and expansion means an increase in middle class jobs. Manufacturers recognize they need to develop the talent, but rely on informal and outdated methods to accomplish such tasks.
So what steps should manufacturers take?
One suggestion is to reach students in high school, especially those that are at a high risk of dropping out. We need to take a step back, put ourselves into the students’ shoes and figure out how to make them aware of other educational options. Manufacturers and educators must present manufacturing jobs outside of the stereotypical box.
Manufacturers can also take steps in the right direction by better connecting with educational institutions, implementing knowledge management plans, mentoring and apprenticeship programs.
Why not give a high-risk dropout student a second chance by entering them into a mentoring program? Provide mentoring opportunities for the math and science students to learn how the curriculum content relates to the real world.
If more options and programs like this were not just available, but consistently presented to students, I believe we could go a long way towards closing the manufacturing skills gap.
Judith writes: Northern Ohio manufacturers can take action to connect with young talent right now by joining MAGNET’s Manufacturing Ambassador program. Whether traveling to regional high schools or welcoming students to your facility, for a small investment of time and effort, you can make a big impact on a young person at the crossroads of their life. For more information, contact Kristin today: firstname.lastname@example.org, or (216) 432-5324.
HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need
How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report, AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space:
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