For those of us who participated in Manufacturing Day on October 4, it was an invaluable opportunity to reach out to our communities and the younger generations, and tell the story of manufacturing. It was a day to celebrate this great industry, while focusing on its future.
One of the main purposes of Manufacturing Day was to get younger people—those entering the workforce as well as those still in school—interested in careers in manufacturing. As American manufacturing continues to gain momentum, we are facing a skilled labor shortage, and companies are continuously in need of qualified workers.
Here are just some statistics*:
- More than 70% of Americans view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong economy and national security, yet only 17% named manufacturing as among their top industry choices to begin a career, and only 30% of parents said they would encourage their children to pursue careers in manufacturing.
- By 2030, there will be twice as many retirees as there are today, but only 18% more workers.
- 83% of U.S. manufacturers surveyed in 2005 for the National Association of Manufacturer’s Skill Gap Report indicated a shortage of skilled manpower, already affecting their ability to serve customers.
So what is the solution? Of course, this is not easy. But one way to look at it is to make every day Manufacturing Day. To consistently reach out to customers, students, teachers, our children, our peers, and showcase the value of what we make, what we do, and why it keeps America running.
According to this article written by Douglas Woods of AMT, “It’s important that we’re finding ways to share that passion [for manufacturing] with a broader audience, especially the younger generation – those who will carry our industry forward in the years to come.” He suggests a 365 day/year effort, including “industry-related events, coalitions, forums” such as conferences, workshops, and more.
Tackling such an overwhelming challenge isn’t easy—but this is American manufacturing. We are up for the challenge.