Manufacturing Day – October 7th, this year, actually turned into Manufacturing Month. Many companies large and small acknowledged the importance of engaging and inspiring the talent pipeline by inviting students and educators to events designed to do just that.
The “baby boomer retirement wave” has been discussed, blogged about and beaten to death. But the reality is over three million jobs will need to be filled by 2025. Featured in Industry Week, a panel discussion was hosted by the Cambridge Innovation Center and Kronos, Inc., about the talent gap. In this discussion, representatives from the state of Massachusetts indicated one focus has to be on encouraging young adults to consider an education in STEM programs – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
In thinking about the future, we need to expand our thinking about who’d be a good fit for the manufacturing industry. My guess is we make a lot of assumptions about who would be successful in manufacturing.
Industry Week has a montage of individuals and their stories about what inspired them to enter manufacturing.
Take Jill Mayer, Corporate President of Bead Industries. She represents the fifth generation of the family business and is now at the helm. Or LaRuthie Mason and Erika Swartz of Shaw Industries, with their employer for 10 and two years, respectively. Or Jill Bellak, President of MBX Systems. You probably know where I’m going with this.
When describing what they loved most about manufacturing, many cited their ability to “implement solutions,” “innovation,” “(the) challenge.” Without bias, we need to look at our kids, our grandchildren and encourage them to do what they love. And if it’s fixing things, making things, creating things, so be it. Encouraging young women to pursue an education within the STEM core of programs and pursing a career in manufacturing is worthwhile, rewarding and necessary.
If we are going to fill those more than three million jobs by 2025, we need to be ready for the future – for the emergence and influence of women on the shop floor and in the corner office.
Now if you want to read more about college level STEM programs, click here. If you want to personally get involved in inspiring kids who are already on an engineering track, become a mentor.