American manufacturing is seeing a major comeback. Small and large companies alike are returning business to U.S. soil and putting real efforts into reshoring. For the first time in a decade, true growth is being seen in the industry, and the Made in the USA slogan inspires pride and promises true quality.
There are many reasons behind this recovery, and one of the biggest is true innovation. Manufacturers are using advanced technology to create high-quality goods at lower costs, and this technology is giving them a real competitive edge. As a result, the picture of American manufacturing is not what it used to be: unskilled workers doing laborious tasks in factory assembly lines. Now, workers are using automation, robotics, and highly technical computer programs to create their products.
Unfortunately, as business grows and the need for skilled workers continues, there is a real shortage of workers to fill these positions. As this article points out, companies are struggling to find skilled workers for about 237,000 job openings, and this is due, in part, to “a lack of available welders, machinists, and other skilled laborers.”
So while manufacturing has changed and advanced, perhaps the image of it has not. One of the best ways to try to fix this labor shortage is through STEM education. By focusing on promoting and encouraging science, technology, engineering, and math at an early age, perhaps we can get a generation of Americans excited about these fields, and careers in them.
The STEM Education Coalition believes that STEM education must be a national priority, and that its role is critical for “U.S. competitiveness and future economic prosperity.” They, and other advocates like them, believe that by engaging Americans at an early age, they can prepare them for good, solid, meaningful careers. This will in turn solve the labor shortage and provide a good future for these young people. It would be a win/win.
Manufacturing is the backbone of our country, and it needs enough qualified, ambitious people to help keep it growing and succeeding.