It’s a career path many never consider, but American manufacturing is back in a big way and employers are hiring. There’s just one problem. There are not enough skilled professionals to fill a growing number of job vacancies.
That’s why the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute – along with other professional associations, employers, and universities – host MFG Day once every year. In Greenville, South Carolina, ECPI University’s campus joined in by hosting nearly 200 area high school students, giving them an opportunity to discover what modern manufacturing is all about.
Gone are the days of dirty factory floors and repetitive work. They learned how today’s advanced manufacturing facilities are powered by robots and a wide range of automated systems. While these operations have fewer employees than in previous decades, the jobs that remain are highly-skilled, ones that involve technology integration, programming, and troubleshooting.
During the day-long expo, students met with manufacturers like KUKA Robotics and PA Solutions, saw game-changing technology in action, and learned what skills and education are required to enter the advanced manufacturing profession. Most importantly, they learned that manufacturers are facing a serious hiring crisis. According to a study by Deloitte, it’s projected that nearly 3.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs must be filled over the next decade, but only about 1.5 million people will possess the necessary skills to do the work.
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“I think they were pretty impressed,” says ECPI University Greenville Campus President Karen Burgess. “When people get a close look at modern manufacturing, they discover an environment that is ideal for this technically-oriented, computer-savvy generation. They find that manufacturing is no longer a dirty, back-breaking job. Today’s advanced manufacturing facilities are modern marvels, clean environments filled with skilled professionals operating all kinds of mechanical, electronic, and computer-based systems.”