Washington, D.C. –Today, Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM); Carolyn Lee, executive director of the NAM’s Manufacturing Institute; and David Farr, Emerson chairman and CEO and NAM Board chair, marked Manufacturing Day with op-eds stressing the urgency of the industry’s skills gap crisis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 506,000 open manufacturing jobs in the United States—the highest number of open jobs in the sector in the 18-year history of the survey.
“Manufacturers across the country, like Emerson, are growing. They’re investing and they’re hiring, due in no small part to pro-growth policies out of Washington like tax reform and critical regulatory reform. And yet, manufacturing’s success is simultaneously fueling a burgeoning crisis which, unless sufficiently addressed, threatens both the future of the industry and our economy as a whole.
“A recent survey by the National Association of Manufacturers tells the story. It found more than 90 percent of manufacturers expressing optimism about the future and nearly as many, about 75 percent, expressing deep concerns about their ability to attract and retain a quality workforce moving forward.
“Inspiring more Americans to imagine themselves as manufacturing workers may be the top challenge facing America’s most iconic industry, but it’s also one that NAM is working hard to overcome. One of the ways we’re doing so is through one of our most impactful initiatives, Manufacturing Day, which kicks off across the country today.
“MFG Day is when thousands of manufacturers and technical schools around the country open their doors to parents, teachers and, most importantly, students to show them the reality of modern manufacturing. A wide array of companies put on presentations of all kinds, from rocket launches to augmented reality apps, all with the goal of bringing modern manufacturing to life.”
“Those of us who are parents want nothing more than to ensure our children are ‘better off’ than we are. We want our kids to build a promising career that allows them to do meaningful work and raise a family. The hard part is helping them figure out how to do that.
“Here’s what too many parents don’t know: The answer can often be modern manufacturing. A career in modern manufacturing is high paying—and often does not require a debt-inducing four-year college degree. The average manufacturing employee earns about 25% more in pay and benefits than the average worker across all industries. The work itself is high tech, hands-on and fulfilling. Today’s manufacturing companies are technology companies, relying on coders, programmers, technicians and more to keep production running.
“But you don’t have to take our word for it. October 5 is national Manufacturing Day. Across the country, manufacturers will open their doors to show parents, teachers, students and community members the incredible work that’s going on in their local area. They will showcase the modern technology that is at the heart of today’s industry, and employees and company leaders will talk about the products they make—products that are essential to our day-to-day lives and include everything from smart electronics and automobiles to food, medicine, fuel and apparel.
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“This is a long-term challenge to be sure, but above all, it’s a promising opportunity for young people. And parents should be reassured that modern manufacturing offers what they want for their children: a solid career, a bright future and a chance to be ‘better off.’ See for yourself today and throughout the month at an MFG Day event near you.”
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.