FMA report: Skills Gap issues still face industry

Despite assertions from manufacturers that they will need a new breed of highly skilled workers in the years ahead and job opportunities will abound for today’s youth, U.S. teenagers in large numbers want to wear white collars, not blue, when they launch their careers. A new national poll shows a majority of teens – 52% – have little or no interest in a manufacturing career an...

12/01/2009


Despite assertions from manufacturers that they will need a new breed of highly skilled workers in the years ahead and job opportunities will abound for today’s youth, U.S. teenagers in large numbers want to wear white collars, not blue, when they launch their careers.

 

A new national poll shows a majority of teens %%MDASSML%% 52% %%MDASSML%% have little or no interest in a manufacturing career and another 21% are ambivalent. When asked why, a whopping 61% said they seek a professional career, far surpassing other issues such as pay (17%), career growth (15%) and physical work (14%).

 

“Unfortunately, manufacturing often is not positioned as a viable career by groups such as educators and counselors, and at times factory work even is maligned in pop culture and the media,” said Gerald Shankel, president of Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs (NBT), The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl., which sponsored the poll. “Based on this environment, these findings are not surprising.”

 

The NBT poll results are based on the responses of 500 teens, ages 13 to 17, who participated in a Web survey in September 2009.

 

“It’s ironic that even with so many professionals unemployed today, teens still consider the traditional college degree as the launch pad to the preferred career path,” Shankel added. “Our industry must generate interest among young people to consider manufacturing and convey that it’s both honorable and profitable to work with your hands. The skilled jobs to fill will not only require workers to operate the most advanced, sophisticated equipment such as robotics and lasers, it will require the kind of high tech, computer skills young people love to apply.”

 

The survey of 500 teens reveals this effort to spark interest and commitment faces obstacles based on their limited exposure to what often are called the “manual arts.” The poll shows:

 

  • Six in 10 teens %%MDASSML%% 61% %%MDASSML%% never have visited or toured a factory or other manufacturing facility

  • Only 28% have taken an industrial arts or shop class, yet more than double that number %%MDASSML%% 58% %%MDASSML%% have completed a home economics course

  • Almost three in 10 teens %%MDASSML%% 27% %%MDASSML%% spend no time during the week working with their hands on projects such as woodworking or models, 30% less than one hour and just 26% one to two hours.

    • Shankel also notes that more than 70% of Americans view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong national economy and national security.

      “Such sentiment really motivates us to work hard to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, welders, builders, electricians and other trades people,” Shankel said.

      NBT addresses this goal by offering grants to not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions that introduce young people to careers in the trades through manufacturing summer camps for youth. It also issues scholarships to students at colleges and trade schools pursuing studies that lead to careers in manufacturing. More information on NBT and its programs is available by visiting www.NutsAndBoltsFoundation.org .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Getting ready for industrial IoT; Visualizing the (applied) automation continuum; Preventing VFD faults and failures; Using wireless for closed-loop applications
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.