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Skills Gap in Manufacturing Industry

Posted 6:07 PM by

As the U.S. economy strives to remain on the edge of the technical revolution, many high schools across the country have eliminated traditional shop classes for more high-tech information technology related classes. Could this elimination of shop class have created the large skills gap that the manufacturing industry is beginning to experience?

Yes, according to Emily DeRocco, president of the Manufacturing Institute, the educational arm of the National Association of Manufacturers. "One reason for the experienced Baby Boom works will be so difficult to replace is that high school shop classes where many of them [Baby Boomers] learned their skills were eliminated decades ago." (Teens learn robotics as factories lack skilled workers, Reuters)

Modern manufacturing companies do not resemble the production lines that most people think of when talking about manufacturing production. Manufacturing business plans have eliminated the traditional production line and have looked at increased efficiencies through technology. Most manufacturing production plans fall into one of two categories:

  1. A high-speed automated plant with very specialized machinery that can produce a high volume of identical items. The workers at these plants tend to be more focused on making sure that the machines are working properly and running smoothly.
  2. A plant that makes highly customized large products (i.e. airplanes, cruise ships), where each unit is different and workers need to the skills and knowledge to adapt.

A recent survey conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute found that there were roughly 600,000 skilled manufacturing positions/jobs that were currently unfilled. Employers cannot find capable people that have the capacity and understanding to work in a high-tech manufacturing position.

About the Author

Justin Hayes is a director in Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Audit and Assurance Services Group as well as being a member of the Not-for-Profit and Governmental Services Groups. Justin works with clients to help them avoid risk and maximize efficiencies by keeping an eye on their bottom line and helping ensure accurate financial reporting. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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