FMA report: Skills Gap issues still face industry

Despite assertions from manufacturers that they will need a new breed of highly skilled workers in the years ahead and job opportunities will abound for today’s youth, U.S. teenagers in large numbers want to wear white collars, not blue, when they launch their careers. A new national poll shows a majority of teens – 52% – have little or no interest in a manufacturing career an...

12/01/2009


Despite assertions from manufacturers that they will need a new breed of highly skilled workers in the years ahead and job opportunities will abound for today’s youth, U.S. teenagers in large numbers want to wear white collars, not blue, when they launch their careers.

 

A new national poll shows a majority of teens %%MDASSML%% 52% %%MDASSML%% have little or no interest in a manufacturing career and another 21% are ambivalent. When asked why, a whopping 61% said they seek a professional career, far surpassing other issues such as pay (17%), career growth (15%) and physical work (14%).

 

“Unfortunately, manufacturing often is not positioned as a viable career by groups such as educators and counselors, and at times factory work even is maligned in pop culture and the media,” said Gerald Shankel, president of Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs (NBT), The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl., which sponsored the poll. “Based on this environment, these findings are not surprising.”

 

The NBT poll results are based on the responses of 500 teens, ages 13 to 17, who participated in a Web survey in September 2009.

 

“It’s ironic that even with so many professionals unemployed today, teens still consider the traditional college degree as the launch pad to the preferred career path,” Shankel added. “Our industry must generate interest among young people to consider manufacturing and convey that it’s both honorable and profitable to work with your hands. The skilled jobs to fill will not only require workers to operate the most advanced, sophisticated equipment such as robotics and lasers, it will require the kind of high tech, computer skills young people love to apply.”

 

The survey of 500 teens reveals this effort to spark interest and commitment faces obstacles based on their limited exposure to what often are called the “manual arts.” The poll shows:

 

  • Six in 10 teens %%MDASSML%% 61% %%MDASSML%% never have visited or toured a factory or other manufacturing facility

  • Only 28% have taken an industrial arts or shop class, yet more than double that number %%MDASSML%% 58% %%MDASSML%% have completed a home economics course

  • Almost three in 10 teens %%MDASSML%% 27% %%MDASSML%% spend no time during the week working with their hands on projects such as woodworking or models, 30% less than one hour and just 26% one to two hours.

    • Shankel also notes that more than 70% of Americans view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong national economy and national security.

      “Such sentiment really motivates us to work hard to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, welders, builders, electricians and other trades people,” Shankel said.

      NBT addresses this goal by offering grants to not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions that introduce young people to careers in the trades through manufacturing summer camps for youth. It also issues scholarships to students at colleges and trade schools pursuing studies that lead to careers in manufacturing. More information on NBT and its programs is available by visiting www.NutsAndBoltsFoundation.org .





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.