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How To Bring Manufacturing Back: A Lesson From Germany

Mon, 01/28/2013 - 4:05pm
Jeremy W. Crane

President Barack Obama, as well as other right and left-wing politicians, are constantly pressing on the issue of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States in the near future. It is obvious that a resurgence of manufacturing in the United States will help to solve many issues in our struggling economy. Despite the constant rhetoric of politicians proclaiming that they will combat this issue, I have yet to hear the answer to a very simple question that will actually solve the problem.

How?

I have developed one potential solution to answer the previously proposed question. I believe that a huge change in the sentiment in our society, specifically in the education sector, could make a huge difference in bringing manufacturing, and the necessary labor, back to the United States.

We all know that Germany is not proud of all of their actions over the past century. But take a look at this nation following the destruction of the Berlin Wall. I remember, as a 7th grade German student, learning about how in Germany the students must take assessment exams during what would be middle and high school ages in the U.S. These practices still exist in Germany, as they have proven successful and been a major part of the country’s economic health. Students are evaluated and then placed into classrooms and paths that cater to their strengths and are designed to put them on the road to success. At an early age, many German students are directed on a path to trade school, in which they learn to work with their hands.

These students are commended, just as well as those who are lead to higher education (University), and are highly valued in their society.

In America, from an early age, in our public and private schools we are all made a promise: We can become teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, politicians, CEOs, media magnets, tycoons and so on. There is no praise to those of us who may be best as mechanics, electricians, plumbers, painters or, most importantly, manufacturing workers.

As a result, we lack a skilled labor force to fill these jobs that Obama and other politicians and business leaders promise to bring back home. We rely heavily on developing nations, and never seem to answer the question previously asked: "How?"

The United States government and society must do two things:  First they must change the education system. This will certainly cost a sufficient amount of money at first, however it will certainly pay off in a number of years. The education system must place students who are not likely to succeed and prosper by attending schools of higher education, but will be much more valuable to our economy working in skilled labor jobs.

In addition, the curriculum must change, starting with the first years of education, to teach students the importance of skilled labor. This could influence a good portion of them to consider this path as an option in the future. This will put a higher value and better sentiment in the minds of these children and prepare them as they are put on differing paths as they continue their schooling.

Secondly, the government must introduce propaganda to help change the mentality of the nation. The public needs to understand and believe how important and necessary it is to have skilled workers at home. A high value must be placed on our children, and children's children, who will contribute to our economy in this way. It must be understood that an emphasis on skilled labor will decrease the unemployment rate, cut a large percentage of the U.S. debt and make room for new social programs.

If we were to change our education system, as well as put a higher value to those who serve the economy outside of cubicles and office space, we would see corporations bring their manufacturing back to the United States. They would create the jobs that so many are searching for. The price for manufacturing will drop domestically, which will in turn bring manufacturing jobs back home.

I hope that someone will listen, and that we can bring back manufacturing labor back to the United States in the near future.


Jeremy W. Crane is a serial entrepreneur from Rochester, New York and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for undergrad. He is currently working on growing the parking business in Rochester, New York both domestically and abroad, as well as starting an E-commerce/flash sale business.

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