Editorial


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Manufacturing Needs a Youth Injection

By: Brad Kuvin

Friday, August 17, 2018
 

The 3D metal-printing community is no exception to the headline’s message. The good news is that the “sex appeal” of additive manufacturing (AM) gives it as good a chance of any manufacturing technology of attracting the next generation of workers into our facilities.

As Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) rapidly approaches (it’s Friday, October 5), I would challenge every company involved in AM, users and suppliers alike, to go “all in” with their MFG Day activities. Visit the event website to learn how to get involved, by hosting tours, sponsoring events and more.

In their promotional efforts, the organizers of MFG Day (the National Association of Manufacturers) are pushing a new theme this year: Open Doors, Open Minds—Inspire the Next Generation of Manufacturers.

They ask, “How do you get students to pursue manufacturing careers?” The answer, posted on the MFG Day website:

“Spark student interest by exposing them to modern manufacturing in action, and letting them find what inspires them, whether it’s the technology, the creativity, the problem solving, the team attitude, or the reassurance of good pay and benefits and high job security.”

Surveys evaluating the results of MFG Day activities yield impressive results. After attending MFG Day events, 64 percent of students say they’re “more motivated to pursue careers in manufacturing,” and 71 percent say they’re “more likely to tell friends, family, parents or colleagues about manufacturing.”

Yes, the drum beat is sounding, but it needs to grow louder and more persistent. Companies that already have participated in MFG Day celebrations, since their beginnings in 2012, design plant tours and informational sessions to address common misperceptions about manufacturing. They present what manufacturing is—and what it is not.

MFG Day activities allow manufacturers to connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the entire industry. Now more than ever, it’s time for the AM community to get involved. Hundreds of industry-leading organizations will do their part on October 5 to promote careers in manufacturing to students, community leaders and others. In addition to hosting plant tours and informational sessions, your company can organize or participate in manufacturing-related community events such as conducting a job fair or an educational event.

There's no better way for AM companies to begin narrowing the skills gap than by participating in this annual image-polishing exercise. And, it's becoming increasingly simple to join in the festivities, thanks to the enormous stash of resources housed on the MFG Day website.

If you decide to participate, please let me know about it, and we’ll be happy to promote your activities and describe the results in a coming issue of 3D Metal Printing.

 


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