Wise Move To Change The Current Trend of The American Industry
National Association of Manufacturers
standing-room-only event at the National Press Club this spring, the
National Association of Manufacturers announced the formal launch of its
Careers Campaign with the avowed goal of making manufacturing careers a top
choice by the end of the decade. A white paper, “Keeping America
Competitive: A Talent Shortage Threatens U.S. Manufacturing” was released.
The paper, based on extensive new research and in partnership with Deloitte
& Touche and The Manufacturing Institute, is a sobering look at
attitudes on manufacturing and the careers it offers.
we found through a series of focus groups and interviews was disturbing.
A long-term manufacturing employment and skills crisis is developing with
ominous implications for the economy and national security. A survey
conducted by the Center for Workforce Success shows that the loss nearly 3
million manufacturing jobs during the recent recession masks a looming
shortage of highly skilled, technically competent employees who can fully
exploit the potential of new technologies and support increased product
factors shaping tomorrow’s manufacturing are beyond our control and will
not change in the foreseeable future: global pressures, the relentless
advances in technology and demographic shifts in an aging society.
What manufacturers and public educational institutions can and must do is
change the attitudes of students, parents, educators, business leaders and
policy makers about the contribution of U.S. manufacturing to our economy
and the value and desirability of manufacturing careers to our future
our research, we learned that:
· American youth are universally “turned off” to working in modern
manufacturing, which they often view as dark, dirty dead-end and dull.
With near unanimity, respondents across the country saw manufacturing jobs
to be in stark conflict with the characteristics they desire in their
careers—and as a result, they do not plan to pursue industrial careers.
· Of even more concern was the response from adults that the American
people “just have no idea” of manufacturing’s contribution to the
overall growth and health of the economy. Instead, they see it as an
industry that is unstable and in decline.
education system is a weak link for the future of manufacturing careers.
The research emphatically shows that the U.S. educational system
exacerbates the negative perception of manufacturing because it is
largely out of step with the career opportunities emerging for young
people in today’s economy, including manufacturing. The data
shows that more than half of all college students drop out. Our
educational system fails to engage them and help them enter alternative
post-high school programs where they would be successful. For
those who do graduate, one—third fail to find employment requiring a
four-year degree. Meanwhile, many of the well-paid and rapidly
increasing jobs remain unfilled, including those requiring two- and
four-year technical degrees or short-term skill certificates.
all the news is not bad because the reality of manufacturing is vastly
different from its image. Today’s manufacturing company is a major
source of high-tech innovation, wealth creation and exciting and varied
long-term careers. This real world is what we must show to students,
their parents, their educators and public policy makers.
remain strong and continue to thrive in a highly competitive environment,
U.S. manufacturing must surmount many challenges. NAM’s public
agenda is clear about this, as it has launched the Strategy for Growth and
Manufacturing Renewal. High on the list of challenges in trade, tax
and regulatory policies needed to bolster U.S. manufacturing is the
challenge of attracting a new generation of manufacturing employees prepared
for 21st century jobs.