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Using STEM to Welcome a New Generation to Manufacturing

Much has been written about the skills gap facing various groups within the manufacturing industry. This is attributed to many things including fewer students taking science, technology, and engineering and math (STEM) classes from an early age, changing skill sets needed within the industry, and a lack of understanding concerning the possible breadth of manufacturing careers. For employers, these elements often add up to more time and money spent filling available positions.

As a result, there’s a desire to re-introduce manufacturing to a new generation. Designed as a multi-prong approach it includes renewed emphasis on STEM classwork as early as elementary school as well as demonstrating to students the varied career path available in manufacturing. This initiative also works to highlight some of the newest manufacturing methods such as 3-D printing that might not fall under the typical definition of manufacturing.

National Initiatives to Bridge the Manufacturing Skills Gap

  • Introduce and emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) materials into school curriculum as early as possible
  • Describe manufacturing as a career path with the ability to improve the world through initiatives designed to help consumers save energy, improve health and wellness, save lives through innovative technologies, and assist in building a stronger economy
  • Create long-standing connections between STEM leaders and manufacturing industry leaders so the possibilities are recognized by both parties
  • Build synergies to incorporate manufacturing initiatives and know-how into non-manufacturing, yet relatable, programs
  • Position manufacturing messaging with the National Center for Manufacturing Education to collect, disseminate, and evaluate ways to share the benefits of manufacturing

Creating a New Path

One way the industry is looking to solve the workforce shortage is by offering a number of ways an individual can establish a career path. Options include apprenticeships, degree (Associates, Bachelor, Masters, and PhD) programs and certifications, offering a variety of ways to learn industry-specific skills and technical competencies.

Throughout the nation, a growing number of employers, city governments and trade groups are also looking to demonstrate the modern manufacturing message. During the upcoming Precision Machine Technology Show in Columbus, Ohio, April 21-23, students are encouraged to participate in Student Day. Held on the last day of the show, students from throughout the area are invited to experience first-hand the benefits of manufacturing. In addition to having opportunities to learn about a career path in manufacturing, students can also check out exhibits on the show floor, discover new manufacturing technologies, attend educational sessions, and engage with the manufacturing employers present.

Walsh Manufacturing, a diversified supplier of cost-effective metal fabrication and machine design, will be on hand at Booth 1513 to showcase the company’s engineering solutions, parts washing systems, metal fabrication, machinery rebuilds, automation equipment, and water jet cutting services.