For decades, we have been pushing our kids to become as computer literate as possible. High-tech gadgets and machinery dominate every aspect of modern society. From manufacturing, to health care, to communication, we certainly need as many highly trained programmers and engineers as we can get our hands on in order to keep up with the rest of the world. The real problem is getting young people with these hard earned STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills interested in actual, hands-on manufacturing. No matter how many computer programmers we churn out, it will not be worth a great deal without also training and hiring skilled workers for manufacturing. Right now, the median age of manufacturing employees in the U.S. is 45, with 23% over 55.
There are a few different organizations working towards this important goal, here’s a quick look at some of our favorites.
- Indiana’s Wells County Economic Development group recently held a guitar building camp that was both fun and educational. The camp brought together 12 junior-high aged students to build electric guitars and in the process teach he kids all about “…machining, project development, product scheduling, and quality control”.
- The National Tooling and Machining Association sponsors the National Robotics League, which tries to get high school students, interested in engineering and manufacturing.
- Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a combination of hands-on, real world activities and projects and intensive classroom training. It utilizes local manufactures to teach and train middle and high school students.
These are just a few of the many projects or organizations attempting to make manufacturing attractive to the next generation. If you work in the manufacturing industry, please reach out to a local school or youth group, and do all you can to get our kids excited about a career in manufacturing.