Are Youth And Education Turning Away From Manufacturing?

manufacturing educationOne of the hottest topics within the economy is the re-growth of American Manufacturing.  Within American manufacturing, the most talked about idea has been the lack of skilled workers in the labor force and how/where we will find them.   Many have speculated on Obama’s recent grants to fund certain areas of manufacturing, while others are looking at the big picture and resurgence from the floor level up, starting with the education systems.

Internally, we had a very positive human interest piece done recently by our own VP, Ken Hayes.  The article talked about Ken’s son, Owen, and his Boy Scout project.  Owen actually approached his Dad to use ProfitKey’s manufacturing software in order to help him organize his project.  The project was a great success for Owen and, in turn, was a big story for us here at Profitkey.  Aside from the successes, this really connected with all of the hot topics and immediately raised the question of why do we not hear these stories more often.  Are parents turning their kids away from manufacturing?

As a 28-year old, I would be considered a ‘baby’ by many in the industry, and rightfully so.  While growing up, my major focus and interests lay in sports.  With that said, my parents both understood the significance and importance of having me learn different trades.  They signed me up for boy scouts, made sure I took the optional “shop” class in middle school, or whatever they called it at the time, and always pressured me to learn other skills.  Amongst many other things today, I thank them for that.  When I reached high school, manufacturing was completely out of focus.  None of my peers were involved and people generally frowned upon the industry.  Fast forward 10 years later and it seems as if the perspective on the industry has not changed drastically; however, Owen’s story can give us hope.

What I am seeing is not so much a lack in willingness to learn, but rather a hesitation.  There are many assumptions out there circulating around the themes of job stability, pay grades, lapse of technology.   For a long time job stability in manufacturing companies was a legitimate concern and still may be, but with the push and constant need of the labor pool, there is a much more secure feel out there.

At first glimpse, manufacturing might not be the most glamorous industry out there, but as far as technology is concerned, it always seems to be ahead of the curve in innovation.  Whether it is designing modern and custom metal benches to be featured throughout San Francisco to advancements in robotic engineering, the opportunities are endless.  Lastly, and most important to many young professionals, is salary.  If they only knew that a high percentage of entry-level manufacturing jobs actually pay 175% higher than the average entry-level position, the interest level would jump considerably.  Many local companies are even investing back into local schools and communities.  The direct reason behind the investments is that they hope it will pay off years down the road in re-shaping the economy and perhaps provide them with the jump in youth and skill that many companies are hungering for.  Let’s spread the word, get our kids back involved in organizations like the Boy Scouts, and re-shape our industry.

 Posted by Jason Rourke, Marketing Manager, Profitkey International
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