The fact that manufacturing in America has made a comeback is now yesterday’s news. Innovation, cost-effectiveness, and quality products have brought it back. Today’s news is now centered on the manufacturing skills shortage—the jobs are back, but there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill them. So the question is, what does that mean for tomorrow?
Statistics show that 33% of American 25-29 year olds have a bachelor degree (or higher), up from only about 20% several decades ago. But are they learning the skills they need for real-world employment? Do enough young people know how to work in—and advance in—a technical or engineering career, where the jobs are open and waiting for them?
Programs throughout the country are working toward this. STEM education is being promoted, and in programs such as California’s Linked Learning and Albany’s Tech Valley High, students are benefitting from career-focused training that will prepare them for a successful future, and possibly help fill the skills gap. The hope is that more schools will follow the lead.
As a high-tech, low-volume company, Hi-Tek doesn’t build a ton of individual piece parts, but the parts we do build are very difficult to manufacture. So when a young hire comes to us, rather than sitting in a shop, working on a stamping machine all day and watching widgets as they watch the clock, they are coming to us with a high degree of machining expertise, and the opportunity to be challenged daily, while producing quality parts.
Of course, this requires thorough training and education, and above-average technical skills. If the examples set forth by the high schools and colleges who are doing this training early are followed by other schools in the country, there’s no telling what the future will bring.