Building a Bridge from Boomers to Millenials in Manufacturing



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Video competition has high schoolers create videos to showcase the skills and education necessary for a manufacturing career.


Starting on Jan. 1, 2011 and every day going forward for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 years old every day. Those 10,000 people and their decades of professional experience will hit retirement age in numerous industries, with a wide-ranging impact, but perhaps the biggest one will be felt in manufacturing.


The reason why is two-fold: less young people have been entering the manufacturing trades, and proficiency in advanced manufacturing requires time, lots of time.


That latter fact summarized here in a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report:


Even in occupations where technological innovations have produced relatively large productivity gains—many of the more complex machining jobs in manufacturing, for example—the learning curves often are steep, meaning that new workers need to enter these occupations soon, so they can become proficient in the necessary skills by the time the baby boomers begin leaving the labor force.


That particular report found that manufacturing leads the list of affected industries, with 12 occupations and 14 industries impacted by retiring boomers. By 2025, millennials—those aged 18 to 32—will comprise 75% of the workforce, according to ThomasNet. But how do you get younger people interested in manufacturing?


For the second year, the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) is directly engaging high school students with manufacturing, sponsoring a video competition. The “Manufacturing a Path to Success” contest follows on the heels of last year’s, “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest that garnered videos from 13 teams of students and 11 different schools.


In 2016, numerous schools and 14 different companies from Connecticut’s Windham, New London and Middlesex counties have signed up to participate. Each team will have a liaison at its paired manufacturing company and student teams will meet with their manufacturer several times, completing interviews and tours before filming and editing videos.


Each completed video will be posted on the EAMA website, the paired manufacturing company website, and on the EAMA Youtube channel. Once student videos are complete, EAMA says an “American Idol-style” voting competition will take place where viewers will have the opportunity to vote online for their favorite video. Ultimately a “film festival” will be held in April 2016 at Quinebaug Valley Community College, where videos will be screened and judged on creative merit.


Last year’s winner? RHAM High, which highlighted MPS Plastics (see video below):



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