Building a Smartforce for U.S. Manufacturing

12. September 2012
article courtesy of Greg Jones
In July, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued a report on “Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing” outlining a list of recommendations, some of which mirror the things that we have been saying and doing in the industry, as well as some of the things you’ve heard coming off the campaign trail.
The whole report focuses on three top-level items:
  • Enabling innovation
  • Securing the talent pipeline
  • Improving the business climate
For the purposes of this discussion, I am focusing on “securing the talent pipeline” and the six recommendations outlined in the report.
The President’s Council wants to:
1)      Correct public misconceptions about manufacturing and recommends building excitement and interest in careers in manufacturing.
2)      Tap the talent pool of returning veterans.
3)      Invest in community-college-level education.
4)      Develop partnerships to provide skills certifications and accreditation.
5)      Enhance advanced manufacturing university programs.
6)      Launch national manufacturing fellowships and internships.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
To get a glimpse of how the industry is getting behind initiatives that will encourage parents, students and educators to get excited about careers in manufacturing, take a step out on the Mezzanine above Hall C1 in the North Building to get a view of the NIMS Skills Center at IMTS.
NIMS, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills has been managing the student area at IMTS for years. The institute sets skills standards for the industry, certifies individual’s skills against the standards and accredits training programs for machine operators.
At IMTS 2012, the NIMS Skills Center includes “Career Launch Pads” for high school, community college and engineering school students to talk with “MTAmbassadors,” people close to the students in age who already have careers in engineering, applications, service or sales in our industry.
Getting young people excited about careers in manufacturing by having them talk about their school and career choices with young engineers who are already in the industry is just one way that we can build a smarter workforce for U.S. manufacturing.
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