Too many jobs?

"There are plenty of manufacturing jobs to be had in the U.S. The problem is that Americans don't want these jobs because manufacturing jobs have no social status," said Dick Morley (known to many as the "father of the PLC") during the most recent CSIA (Control and Information System Integrators Association) meeting in May.

07/01/2004


"There are plenty of manufacturing jobs to be had in the U.S. The problem is that Americans don't want these jobs because manufacturing jobs have no social status," said Dick Morley (known to many as the "father of the PLC") during the most recent CSIA (Control and Information System Integrators Association) meeting in May. "Which one of your sons do you want to grow up to work in an automotive plant?" he asked the audience rhetorically.

Some evidence exists to support Morley's claims. USA Today recently reported that many manufacturing jobs in the U.S. go unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers. According to Morley, in addition to a lack of qualified workers, many of these jobs go unfilled due to lack of interest.

Other choice Morley insights on the state of U.S. manufacturing delivered during the CSIA conference include:

  • U.S. politicians want to lock the country up against foreign competition and wonder why the jobs don't come back. "It's like closing the barn gates and wondering why the horse doesn't return. Ireland, Hong Kong, Korea, China, and The Netherlands have all invited companies in. They've kept the barn doors open and left out some hay," he said. "Jobs in the U.S. are too often being driven elsewhere by the 'not in my backyard' syndrome." Zoning, paperwork, and heavy taxes make it nearly impossible for manufacturers to set up shop in America.

  • "Our heroes used to be people like Ford and Edison"—people who created industries and jobs. Today's innovators like Bill Gates are seen as villains. "We have more of a cultural shift [affecting our employment options] than a job shift," said Morley.

This year's CSIA conference also offered insight into the state of the U.S. manufacturing profession through its own process of growing and codifying its operation. Established as an association to provide members with the insight necessary to run a successful system integration business, CSIA has since grown in scope to audit registered members as a means to verify that they are proven, established, and experienced system integrators with verified expertise. Like the manufacturing industry itself, CSIA is going through a shift, with its sights set on decidedly positive results for its members. Principal initiatives of the group in 2004 are to grow membership to 259 from 189 by year's end and to further spread the message of the value of CSIA registration to system integrator clients and decision makers that hire integrators.

If you've never attended a CSIA meeting, you may find it worth your while to do so in the future—even if you are not a system integrator. The insight the meeting provides a manufacturer interested in employing system integrator services is well worth your time. For more information on CSIA, visit www.controlsys.org .

dgreenfield@reedbusiness.com





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