Recently, we shared our INFOGRAPHIC: 6 Myths About U.S. Manufacturing – Debunked! Now, with these myths debunked, we need to spread the word that the U.S. Manufacturing industry is thriving and enjoys the promise of even greater growth and prosperity ahead. In fact, 90% of manufacturing companies recently surveyed feel positive about their own company outlook. The statistics hold the promise of new prosperity, benefiting our global competitiveness, economic growth and communities across the country.
But there is one huge threat to the future of U.S. Manufacturing that we MUST ACT NOW to change: there is a large deficit of skilled workers to fill open positions. 350,000 positions unfilled to be exact. And this number is expected to increase in the future!
Jennifer McNelly, current President of 180 Skills, LLC and former President and Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute, is leading the effort on filling this jobs gap. She is arguably the most passionate person in the country about educating the next generation in manufacturing.
“We’re a nation in crisis as related to our manufacturing workforce! We’re at a unique point in time where baby boomers are retiring and leaving a large void which millennials need to fill,” says McNelly. “The problem is, young people aren’t exposed to what modern manufacturing truly is.”
Young people’s understanding of manufacturing and the perception of it being a prospective career depends on where in the country they live. In some parts of the country millennials know about local manufacturing companies and in others, where factories are more removed from the population, they aren’t even on millennials’ radar.
“It’s a long haul to recruit the next generation into our industry when they don’t even know we’re here!”
McNelly states that the key to educating the next generation is allowing them to experience for themselves what modern manufacturing is all about.
One example of a plan to immerse young people in manufacturing that’s already in action is Manufacturing Day, an annual nationwide celebration where manufacturing companies hold open houses, welcoming students to learn about the industry. Manufacturers can be included in the list of open houses by visiting the website and following the prompts. The 2017 Manufacturing day held this past October 6th, was a huge success with over 3,000 events nationwide.
Empowering Employers to ACT with Training to Win
Through her work with 180 Skills, the most comprehensive, employer-focused, talent solution in the industry, McNelly is dutifully working to close the job gap, but it remains a source of frustration.
“Why are we struggling as manufacturers when, for Americans seeking economic stability, we’re the best job in town?” she asks.
In order to empower manufacturing companies to fill their own employment gaps, McNelly led a team to put together a packet called Training to Win. The packet discusses how to launch training programs that turn job candidates into skilled employees.
“The front door to manufacturing employment opportunities is narrow because of the skills requirements, but the need to fill positions behind that door is wide!” says McNelly. “The solution is to make more points of entry. Manufacturing companies need to start training people that could be right for the job. We need to be looking at more diversity in our hiring: more women, returning veterans, the underemployed, and those who didn’t complete college, to name a few.”
“Empowering employers to act. That is the biggest challenge the future of the manufacturing industry faces and we can’t afford to wait! Manufacturing is an important industry, making machines that deliver clean drinking water and feed the world. If manufacturing employers don’t lead the charge to close the employment gap, I fear for what will happen.”
Download the Training to Win brochure now and put it to work in your manufacturing company. Be the change you want to see in the world.
Help Spread the Good News about U.S. Manufacturing!
You are invited to copy and share our infographic here. You are even free to cover our logo and give it your own branding! What’s most important is that we dispel existing myths about today’s modern manufacturing.