Mama’s Don’t Let Your Child Grow Up To Be

March 23, 2012

America needs skilled manufacturing workers; Our children need Jobs. What's the problem?

Excerpted from Barberbiz Blog

Try This and See What Happens

Greg Knight, vice president of  PMPA member AMT Machine Systems,  suggests conducting a little experiment. In a social setting with a group of people, try suggesting that manufacturing just might be an alternative to a traditional four-year college degree.

“The reaction will be, ‘No, my kid needs to go to college.’ A career in manufacturing is not seen as a legitimate choice,” said Knight. “You cannot change ideas on this in a short period of time. This is about cultural change and it will take a lot of time and a lot of work.”

In the recently released “Public Pulse on American Manufacturing” by Deloitte, only 33 percent of parents would encourage their child to pursue a career in manufacturing, only 19 percent of school systems are perceived to encourage students to pursue careers in manufacturing, and only 17 percent of students report being encouraged by their parents to pursue a career in manufacturing.

Our Torn Views

It’s clear that Americans value a strong manufacturing sector. When asked which industries are most important to the national economy, manufacturing is always near the top of the list. If you were to poll economic developers nationwide and ask them if they could create 1,000 new jobs in their community with any new facility, you can bet that for most communities would choose manufacturing.

And yet, if you were to ask those same economic developers if they wanted their sons or daughters to pursue a career in manufacturing, what do you think the answer might be. Well, I think you probably already know the answer to that one.

So we are torn. We want manufacturing jobs, just for someone else. Deloitte’s public pulse study showed that out of seven key industries, manufacturing ranks second to last as a career choice. It remains perceived by most people as an unstable long-term career choice. And our future talent pool is none too thrilled. Among 18-24 year-olds, manufacturing ranks dead last among industries as a career choice.

That’s not good. We have our work cut out for us.

So mamas, your babies don’t have to grow up to be doctors and lawyers and such. They can have a good future in a modern manufacturing plant if they only pursue the training and develop the needed skills.

Nobody said it can or would be easy.

There are no guarantees in life, just better informed choices.

Manufacturing deserves another look.

(Speaking of Precision:I became acquainted with Dean Barber’s thinking through some online discussions  on LinkedIn groups. I thought his thinking reflected ours and was worth sharing.

You can read his full blog here.)

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