The evolution of a fuel-injector assembly line in Greenfield, South Carolina exemplifies the transformation of the manufacturing workforce taking place across the nation, according to a recent NPR story. Making it in America, the second piece in a two-part series, highlights the new and old demands of the manufacturing industry, which has moved from largely hiring low-skilled workers on the assembly line to high-skilled and more-educated workers.
The stories of the success and looming threats among Standard Motor Products employees buttresses the argument for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs that align to the economy and raises the rigor and skill attainment for its students.
The 92-year-old manufacturer has moved from hiring a workforce that was illiterate and did not earn their high school diploma to one that is more educated and has high skills to run sophisticated machinery.
“ ’Now it’s all finesse’ could be the motto of American manufacturing today. In factories around the country, manufacturing is becoming a high-tech, high-precision business. And not everyone has the finesse to run [these complicated machines],” the article said.
Closing the skills gap between those who can and cannot succeed in this new business remains the challenge.