Today, the first Friday of October, is Manufacturing Day. A day set aside to celebrate modern manufacturing, inspire the next generation of men and women to consider manufacturing as a career option, and dispel common misconceptions about manufacturing. Kronos Inc. (Lowell, MA), a supplier of workforce management software and services, and Hypertherm (Hanover, NH), a manufacturer of industrial cutting systems and software, are doing their part to address those misconceptions.
For many years, a skills gap has emerged that is threatening the viability of the manufacturing industry. A new generation of workers is required who are proficient in modern business principles and next generation technologies such as augmented reality, computer-driven technology, Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things.
According to a Manufacturing Institute study, 80 percent of manufacturers surveyed face a moderate to serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions. These are high-paying, high tech jobs, but many students, parents and teachers don’t know about the opportunities for hands-on, meaningful work in manufacturing.
According to a national study commissioned by Kronos, 58 percent of parents surveyed want their child educated in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects, and 43 percent agree STEM-focused careers have a promising future. However, the Kronos 2018 Manufacturing Day Survey found only 20 percent of parents associate STEM education with the manufacturing industry.
“This is an exciting time of digital transformation for many manufacturers and the industry is bursting with opportunity for new and inspired talent,” says Kylene Zenk, Kronos’ director, manufacturing practice. “However, nearly half a million manufacturing jobs today are unfilled, and a growing talent shortage suggests manufacturers may have a hard time attracting next-generation employees to fill these positions. It’s hard for those of us who work in or alongside the industry to believe that public perception continues to fall short.”
Manufacturing Day is meant to help counteract these ideas. This year, the theme for Manufacturing Day 2018 is “Open Doors, Open Minds.” Every year, thousands of manufacturers around the country open its doors to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. To help achieve this, Kronos has partnered with Hypertherm. On Oct. 12, the company will host more than 60 middle school students as they tour one of Hypertherm’s modern manufacturing facilities, participate in hands-on STEM activities, and explore career possibilities in manufacturing.