A recent national survey from the Manufacturing Institute, an organization focused on improving and expanding manufacturing in the United States, delves deeper into the “skills gap” issue and examines how industry leaders are responding to this challenge.
Of the thousand manufacturing executives who completed the Manufacturing Institute’s survey, nearly 70 percent reported that they have a moderate or severe shortage of available, highly-qualified workers. Over half expect the shortage to worsen within the next five years. Further, over 60 percent of executives stated that shortages and skill deficiencies are having a profound impact on their companies’ ability to expand and improve.
Manufacturing Institute President Emily DeRocco stated that students and their parents have a limited understanding of the jobs that are available in manufacturing today, partly due to the stigma around the low-skilled manufacturing jobs of the last century. However, today’s manufacturing jobs require more complex skills, like high-level technology and computer skills, and are situated in much better work environments.
Many executives reported that available jobs are in areas of “skilled production,” such as machinists, operators, distributors, and technicians. DeRocco suggests that companies partner with educational institutions, such as CTE schools and centers, to further align education and training to meet the needs of business and industry.
Through the Manufacturing Career Cluster, Career Technical Education (CTE) programs provide a response to manufacturers’ demands by educating students through career pathways that lead to industry-recognized credentials. Still, more students are needed to overcome this skills gap by training in advanced manufacturing programs of study (POS) and acquiring the skills needed to pursue positions in manufacturing.
The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte provide an analysis of the survey results in Boiling Point? The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing.
Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst