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Building the Future Workforce at Rockwell’s Automation Fair

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Automation isn’t just changing the manufacturing industry; it’s enabling human-centric progress in tackling the industry’s workforce crisis.

In action: As part of the Automation Fair in Chicago last week, more than 15,000 attendees got to see how manufacturers—and companies like Rockwell Automation—are providing solutions to the shortage, which could reach 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to research from the Manufacturing Institute (the workforce development and education partner of the NAM) and Deloitte.

  • Rockwell Automation brought the Creators Wanted Tour, a project of the NAM and the MI, to its Automation Fair, giving students, parents, educators and manufacturers the chance to see firsthand how digital transformation and new technologies are supporting careers and opportunities in modern manufacturing.
  • The tour’s much-heralded immersive experience, along with displays and programs featuring experts from the MI and the Manufacturing Leadership Council (the digital transformation division of the NAM), gave attendees insight into the pathways and support available in the industry.
  • FactoryFix, the official recruiting partner of Creators Wanted, was also on hand to showcase its manufacturing talent platform for job seekers—and manufacturers searching for a one-stop recruiting solution.

Changing perceptions: Creators Wanted aims to shrink the workforce gap by dispelling myths about automation and attracting the next generation to manufacturing jobs. It’s seeing impressive success, MI President Carolyn Lee said during a session at the event.

  • “Today 40% of parents have a positive perception of manufacturing,” Lee said, citing a recent joint Deloitte–MI study. “And what we’re finding is that parents see these are durable careers with great possibility and opportunity, and they’re encouraging their children to consider them.”

Digital help: “Digital is going to help manufacturers deal with their workforce issues because it’s going to not only help change the perception of the industry, but create new jobs going forward, particularly in math-intensive areas like data analytics and artificial intelligence,” said MLC Vice President and Executive Director David Brousell.

  • Brousell cited the MLC’s “Manufacturing in 2030 Project,” saying, “We have to think about digital transformation as human-centric digital transformation—because we’ve got to bring the technology and the people together simultaneously to have an effective transformation.”

Impressive results: Since it began just more than a year ago, the Creators Wanted Tour has seen more than 8,000 students pass through its immersive mobile experience, where more than 75% of attendees leave with a significantly improved view of manufacturing.

  • More than 510,000 students and career mentors have also signed up to learn more about modern manufacturing careers.
  • Creators Wanted has recruited successfully both mentors and mentees for the mentorship program of Women MAKE America, an MI initiative that aims to close the gender gap in manufacturing.
  • The Automation Fair offered more than 150 interactive sessions on the newest industrial solutions and best practices, and more than 200 companies exhibited across 200,000 square feet at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

Media mentions: The fair and Creators Wanted’s presence drew a slew of media coverage, including from “Morning in America” with Adrienne Bankert, “The John Howell Show” on WLS-AM, Univision Chicago and suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald.

  • In addition, the Daily Line published an op-ed on the future of manufacturing by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and Rockwell Automation Chairman and CEO and NAM Executive Committee member Blake Moret.

The last word: “As the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, Rockwell is always looking toward the future of manufacturing,” Moret said. “Campaigns like Creators Wanted are critical to recruiting the best future talent to create a thriving workforce.” 

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