Amid the breast-beating and lamentations about manufacturing jobs moving overseas, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are still by far the world’s greatest manufacturing nation, that we produce more volume of manufactured goods than ever before (albeit with fewer workers) and that, irony of ironies, the biggest challenge facing many manufacturers is a shortage of qualified workers.
Modern manufacturing is high tech. Applicants need strong backgrounds in math, science and computers. The young people emerging from our high schools who are not college bound are woefully unqualified to work in modern manufacturing. The NAM’s Dream It! Do It! campaign was designed to attract a new generation of bright young people to manufacturing careers, and to inform them what skills they need when they get there.
That there is ample opportunity for careers in manufacturing there is no doubt. Consider the recent announcement of Cummins that the company is creating 500 new jobs in Columbus, Ohio. Average pay is $80K. Your average liberal arts grad will be lucky to land a job paying $30K. Not everyone needs or will benefit from a degree in Elizabethan poetry. Many of our bright young people would find fulfillment and prosperity working in modern high tech manufacturing. But the public schools are simply out of touch with the workplace. We have to work around them.
Other links: Dream It! Do It! Southeast Indiana
Indianapolis Star: “675 new jobs offset some recent losses”
WISH-TV: “Hundreds of new jobs headed to Bartholomew, Hancock Counties”
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