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Ways to Inspire the Next Generation of Manufacturers

  • Start early. The earlier we start with the today’s youth, the more successful we can be in influencing their education and career paths. One way to do so is by becoming a mentor and judge for a local state and national student competition. This is a great opportunity to engage with younger students in a fun-filled atmosphere that creates excitement and creativity. If time is an issue, monetary support is always welcome.
  • Demonstrate the possibilities. Take a cutting-edge technology, like additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, and provide hands-on demonstrations on how fun and interesting creating and designing something real and tangible can be. Open the doors of your manufacturing facilities to local communities and schools so that parents, teachers and counselors can see high-tech manufacturing live and in-person. Manufacturing Day, the first Friday in October, is an optimal time to do so.
  • Share the numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an industrial production manager in manufacturing is $92,470, while a mechanical engineer in manufacturing earns a median salary of $83,060. We need to put those numbers in front of our high school and career counselors to encourage youth and displaced workers to pursue advanced manufacturing degrees and professions.
  • Evaluate your workforce. Assess the skills gap of your employees and plan accordingly. Don’t wait until your employees have retired to train their replacements; utilize their skills and knowledge while they’re still with your organization. Look to the future for skills your employees will need and proactively train them for the jobs of tomorrow. Doing so will ensure the long-term success and competitiveness of your company. Competency models are tools that organizations can leverage to align their business goals to the knowledge and skills of their workforce. They can also enhance employee satisfaction and create high performance.
  • Collaborate. Work with other manufacturers, organizations, and most importantly, your local schools and community colleges to promote the importance of manufacturing and the worthwhile careers it has to offer. Go one step further by helping build a pipeline of highly-skilled, knowledgeable employees. This pipeline includes sharing your insight into the manufacturing workforce of the future. What skills are going to be needed in 10, 15, 20 years for your manufacturing company to remain competitive and profitable? Being engaged at all levels creates the best model for success.
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