When Did Manufacturing Become a Dirty Word?
Guest post by Pamela Kan, President of Bishop Wisecarver
The word manufacturing has such negative connotations that it is avoided in marketing educational programs.
What has happened in our country to make our next generation so turned off by the word manufacturing?
- Its Dirty.Too many kids and their parents still see manufacturing as a “dirty” job. This is far from true, especially in the state of California. Environmental, health and safety laws have created clean and safe work environments. Our facilities lead the world. The rise of lean and continuous improvement cultures have made many manufacturing facilities almost clean enough to eat off the floor (I say this with the five-second rule in mind).
- It’s Dumb.Wrong! Manufacturing drives the majority of innovation and R&D investment in our country. Manufactures are leading the way in new technologies and the design and development of products that improve our daily lives and the welfare of people around the world. If you want to be on the cutting edge, then you want a job in manufacturing.
- It’s Boring. Images of the Henry Ford assembly line still exist in many minds. We have come a long way, baby! In fact, manufacturers like myselfnow have trouble finding the skilled workforce needed to run the type of state-of-the-art technology machines we now have on our production floors. Making chips fly takes brains and skill.
- It’s Cheap.Wrong again! Manufacturing jobs on average pay 20k higher than service sector jobs. Manufacturing jobs are the back bone of a strong middle class.
- It’s Dead. Excuse me? When is the world going to stop consuming? Why do we think manufacturing is a thing of the past when we as a nation are the largest consumer of goods in the world? The face of manufacturing may be changing in the US but it is far from dead. Just look at the DYI craze and the rise of the Maker Faire phenomena. Just thinking about the impact that additive manufacturing will have over the next decade is mind blowing.
I am happy to see that both presidential candidates are at least uttering the “M” word. But in my book, neither has really given manufacturing the credit it deserves for the role it plays in a strong US economy.