Manufacturing Day is observed on the first Friday of October every year, taking time to shine a spotlight on our important industry. However, in doing so, any negatives facing the industry are brought to light as well.
With the resurgence of American manufacturing, the skills gap has become clearer. The gap has the potential to hamper the American economy, and some project the gap will continue to widen as the COVID-19 situation continues.
What is the skills gap?
The skills gap boils down to a lack of the right people with the right skills in the right location to fill manufacturing jobs. This doesn’t mean there is a lack of talent, or a lack of work ethic -- it just means there’s a challenge finding the right candidates in regions where manufacturing is prevalent who can learn the ever-changing equipment.
The National Association of Manufacturing reports that 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2030. When the manufacturing industry lost a reported 63% of jobs during the beginning of the pandemic, 570,000 had not been added back as of the end of 2020. Additionally, 77% of manufacturers say they will have difficulty attracting and retaining workers for job openings in 2021 and beyond.
Addressing the gap
Steps are being taken to address the growing skills gap and prevent the American manufacturing segment from slowing down. The same study referenced above also found that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have had a growing impact on workforce trends and can help manufacturers fill openings. By attracting a larger number of women and diverse workers, strides can be made towards closing the skills gap.
Manufacturing Day and the skills gap
One of the best ways to counter the skills gap is to put the benefits of a manufacturing career on display. That’s why manufacturers, trade organizations, and business communities across the nation join together every October for Manufacturing Day.
- One of the main reasons for the skills gap is a lack in key skills. Manufacturing Day events help to promote the needed skills, including technology and computer literacy, math skills, and problem-solving
- Another reason for the skills gap is a short recruitment reach for the employer. This group effort allows them to expand into schools and community colleges that might not be interested in the company on their own. These schools and colleges have been identified by executives as being the second most successful talent base they recruit from.
- Manufacturing Day also helps to spread information regarding manufacturing careers, information that might not otherwise make it to the right people. This includes the high median pay found in the manufacturing sector, the variety of available careers, and the long-term growth potential of workers getting in on the ground floor of manufacturing.
Manufacturing Day has been one of the keys to the growing interest in manufacturing careers in the younger generation, and the hope is that it will continue to help the talent pool grow for the future. This is certain to help to reduce the skills gap, and will help to make sure that manufacturing continues to expand. Join us at American Casting and Manufacturing, or any of your other nearby manufacturers who are part of the events of the day and show your interest and support!