Closing the Manufacturing Skills Gap

By Chris Muhlenkamp, Allegion Senior Vice President of Global Operations & Integrated Supply Chain

October marks Manufacturing Month, an opportunity for manufacturers across the country to highlight modern-day manufacturing, the many diverse sectors within our industry and the opportunities and challenges we’re facing. With a widening manufacturing skills gap, it’s more important than ever that we use this month’s momentum to continue pushing for recognition of our vibrant industry in 2018 and beyond.

Consider this: Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute recently reported that, over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled. However, in that same report, it’s predicted that nearly 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled because of the growing manufacturing skills gap. Linked to a lack of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills among workers and fueled by a decline of technical education programs in high schools, closing the skills gap is imperative to the success of manufacturing in the United States and millions of American workers.

As someone who has worked in the manufacturing industry for 40 years, I believe manufacturing has a bright future. Manufacturers are innovators, and we continue to see the invention of new technologies and processes that result in shorter delivery cycle times and higher-quality products for our customers. As a result, it is critical to have employees who have the desire, knowledge, expertise and capability to run, manage and maintain such investments.

Informing and inspiring the next generation of manufacturers will require a good deal of work within our communities, but it’s a worthy cause. At Allegion, we’re committed to investing in our manufacturing processes and equipment, our people and the communities in which we work to further advance the manufacturing competency.

However, to get to where we want to be, we also need government leaders at all levels to work with us, prioritizing more resources in STEM education and supporting initiatives such as trade apprenticeships and tuition reimbursement programs. Manufacturing Month only underscores the need for our nation’s leaders to continue delivering on manufacturing priorities to boost the economy and bolster our workforce. Together, we can combat the skills gap and invest in the future of the country’s workforce and the communities we serve.

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