Global shifts in costs, processes and consumer purchasing habits put the U.S. in a position to revitalize its manufacturing sector and enhance businesses and industry at home.
The only thing missing is enough skilled workers to maintain the momentum.
The average U.S. manufacturing worker is in their late 40s or early 50s, so many will be retiring in the next 10 to 15 years. While many states and universities have developed programs that train some workers in specific industries or for specific companies, there is no major program to point to that has solved the industry-wide issue.
The Task at Hand
Under the guidance of the National Association of Manufacturers, GE Appliances President and CEO Chip Blankenship has been selected to head a team that will try to address the problem in ways that can be applied to multiple sectors and states.
The ideas so far are outgrowths of existing plans:
- Increase partnerships with government bodies;
- Develop training programs with schools and colleges;
- Encourage students to earn engineering and technology degrees;
- Organize businesses to create training;
- Create incentives for existing workers to retrain for positions.
One of the biggest focuses will be encouraging students to study technology that relates to manufacturing and engineers. The U.S. can become a hub of innovation for developing and building the robots that may operate the manufacturing lines of tomorrow.
Blankenship was right when he said future workers that invest their skills in domestic manufacturing “could be the saviors of our nation’s economy.”