Our community in Randolph County is very much like all the modern, industrial communities found across America. We have large manufacturers, many smaller companies, and job shops, all struggling to fill job openings calling for advanced manufacturing skills. We also have a population of folks willing to roll up their sleeves and invest their futures in a productive career.
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It seems like it was yesterday, but the reality is that it has been almost 25 years since I first became an SME student member. Yes, the face of manufacturing has changed quite a bit since then, including SME’s name. In line with those changes, the level of the service, opportunity and impact of SME has grown quite a bit too.
Wisconsin could capitalize on its strengths in sensors and controls to drive economic growth and support over 44,000 jobs annually in the advanced energy industry. That’s the conclusion of a report from “The Wisconsin Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Sensors and Controls for Advanced Energy.”
Automotive is one of the most highly-automated industries in the world, and it has been a leading force in expanding the use of industrial automation for decades. In fact, the first industrial robot in production was a Unimation UNIMATE that GM installed on a die-casting line in New Jersey in 1962.
Annual construction spending in the U.S. grew for six consecutive years, from 2012 to 2017, according to data from the Department of Commerce. In each of those six years, spending on power construction projects topped all other segments in nonresidential construction, making it a major driver of industry trends.
Manufacturing in the U.S. continues to be the largest economic multiplier of any industry sector, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
Today, eight out of 10 manufacturers are worried about meeting their workforce requirements within the next five years. Many of these companies say they have openings for specific jobs, but they can’t find enough reliable employees who show up for work, pass drug tests, or even have a positive work ethic.
Most manufacturers are proud of what they do. They take pride in working with their hands and utilizing new technology. There’s a spark of creativity within them and they strive to be innovative and unique. There’s a magic to manufacturing. That is manufacturing’s reality.
Will automation and robotics create jobs or only cut them? Less than a week after the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) institute was announced as the fourteenth hub in the network of Manufacturing USA institutes, Reuters News Agency published an article headlined “U.S. investors see more automation, not jobs, under Trump administration.”
With a shortage of young workers willing and able to do today’s factory jobs, manufacturers are taking steps to retain the older workforce already punching in.