By Jim Lorincz
Our industry was encouraged when, at Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama endorsed the Manufacturing Institute’s NAM-endorsed Skills Certification System as part of the Skills for America’s Future initiative. He outlined seven programs to support the goal of providing 500,000 more skilled workers for the manufacturing industry within the next five years.
The key words in this initiative are certification and credentials.
Reaction from leading industry executives was immediate and supportive. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons stated: "I’ve heard over and over from manufacturers about what they need to grow, compete, and create jobs. They’ve shared their concerns on taxes, energy costs, and regulation as well as their need for a skilled workforce which will strengthen our overall economy. That is why our strong partnership with the Manufacturing Institute has been so critical to provide students and transitioning workers with the skills they need to succeed in the modern manufacturing workforce."
AMT President Doug Woods reacted positively: "I am encouraged by the President’s speech today that he understands the importance of training and credentialing to building a manufacturing ‘smartforce.’ The factory floor today is very different from what it used to be, and we need workers who are up to the job. For more than two years, AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology has emphasized the crucial role of public-private collaboration between industry, government, and schools in meeting the demands of the new manufacturing workplace." All of us have a role to play. In this issue of Manufacturing Engineering, you will find a vision of a desirable manufacturing future, the resources needed to realize it, and one glowing example of how a graduate student earning a PhD can change the course of manufacturing. In NewsDesk, SME's role is highlighted. In Harry Moser’s Focus on the Workforce column, there are no less than five online resources with addresses identified dealing with perception of manufacturing, the value of a career in manufacturing, how to convince educators of that value, and, finally, how analysis of Total Cost of Ownership proves manufacturing here in the US (reshoring) is really economically more sound today than its foreign alternative.
And one student, Carl R. Deckard, subject of our Masters of Manufacturing series, while a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, invented a powder-based additive manufacturing process that has become one of AM’s founding technologies.
This article was first published in the July 2011 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.