Stam, Inc. Encourages the ‘Class of 2016’ to Consider Careers in Manufacturing

Congratulations to the Class of 2016! As the high school graduation rate in the U.S. continues to hit all-time highs in recent years, we hope these graduates, who were born just before the turn of the century, consider studying, training for, and pursuing careers in manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing jobs present many career options and opportunities for today’s graduates, and many of these jobs are available right now. More manufacturing jobs will be opening up in the coming years, as well, as the manufacturing sector is seeing a skilled-labor gap grow wider and wider as the “Baby Boomer” generation retires and exits the workforce.

U.S. manufacturers are taking action and attempting to change the image and perceptions of manufacturing jobs to make manufacturing careers more enticing to the younger generation. “Manufacturing is cool” is the title of a recent article from Industry Week which says the people entering, or soon to be entering, the workforce needs to be exposed to the “modern manufacturing environment” to change the perception and image of manufacturing jobs as being “dark and dingy and dirty” – a perception that’s been prevalent for several decades. The Industry Week report says, “If we want to attract today’s youth to manufacturing careers, we need to change their perceptions about what the manufacturing industry is like and show them what great career opportunities exist in the industry… The spotlight needs to be on the high-tech environment of modern manufacturing.”

The same report adds, “Manufacturing careers pay 25% to 50% higher than non-manufacturing jobs.” Robotics, 3D printing, advanced analytics are the manufacturing skills of today and tomorrow, reaffirming “the reality that a career in manufacturing does not entail working in a dirty, dangerous place that requires no skills.” In fact, advanced manufacturing skills are in demand by employers around the world today, and the U.S. needs to keep pace in order to remain competitive in global manufacturing.

At a recent conference, four U.S. state governors participated in a panel discussion about the shortage of skilled workers in the United States. The discussion was moderated by Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent corporation, Alphabet. A report about the discussion says,  “The governors all had the same message: the United States is in a global competition for 21-century jobs and, if we don’t have the skilled workers needed to fill the requirements of advanced manufacturers or emerging players in new high-tech growth sectors, the U.S. will lose this worldwide competition and its long-held crown as the heavyweight champ of industrial giants.”

More work definitely needs to be done to encourage the younger generation to pursue careers in U.S. manufacturing. The skilled-labor gap “still has not been bridged,” according to the Business Facilities report, even though “there’s no shortage of bright young graduates,” and that “the key to bridging the gap is workforce training: making sure our graduates have the necessary skills to move directly into the high-tech workplace as soon as they get their diplomas.”

These are all great ideas, and we will do our part to try to help encourage the Class of 2016 to pursue careers in manufacturing – and we encourage our fellow U.S. manufacturers to do the same!


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