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A 2014 study identified the need for over 2,000 advanced manufacturing jobs in the Pensacola, Florida area in the next five years. Pensacola State College and Locklin Tech are both expanding their technology programs to better meet the demand for this skilled, manufacturing workforce. Representatives from the schools recently visited Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to learn how they've worked with industry to implement best practices for new training programs.

Chicagoland Manufacturing, an initiative in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2015 budget, looks to place workers in 1,000 open manufacturing jobs. The initiative focuses on three areas of need: raising awareness of manufacturing jobs in the City’s and the region’s manufacturing sector; increasing capacity at existing workforce organizations; and facilitating coordination of a thousand Jobs for Chicagoland Manufacturing-branded web portals.

Bluegrass Community & Technical College participated in the UpskillAmerica Summit hosted by the White House in April. In an article she penned for the Lexington Herald-Ledger, Bluegrass President Augusta A. Julian shares how community colleges are addressing the issue of preparing students for the workforce.

 

She highlights that, "For more than 40 years, technical and career programs at community colleges have been structured around competencies identified by local employers." On top of career competencies, President Julian discussed how schools are also incorporating "essential skills" into their curriculum; skills like "...communication, teamwork, dependability, interpersonal skills and professional behaviors that make workplaces run well..."

 

To prepare for tomorrow's workforce, community colleges have to remember that they serve two main constituents; students that need a good start and employers who want a well-educated employee.

Pellissippi State Community College students looking to continue their education at a four-year institution got some welcome guidance from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) administrators, academic counselors and admissions team members. During MTSU's "Paint the Colleges True Blue" tour, representatives visited Pellissippi's Hardin Valley Campus. They shared how to make the right course choices to ensure a smooth transfer to a four-year institution, and how MTSU is redesigning courses and offering enhanced advising to help with student success after transferring.

Coaching the Coaches

M-SAMC and Rhodes State College welcomed Dr. Michele Scott Taylor from College Now to host Participant Engagement Facilitator Training. The training is the first in a series of workshops and webinars aimed at improving the educational pathway for advanced manufacturing students. Participant Engagement Facilitators (PEFs), also known as Student Success Coaches,  and others from M-SAMC partner colleges collaborated on strategies to help students succeed in their college studies and in the workplace.

Two million manufacturing jobs are likely to go unfilled in the coming decade due to the skills gap. Not enough young people are filling the holes left by retirees, leaving 6 out of 10 openings unfilled. While many Americans believe manufacturing is vital to our future, many also believe that these jobs are diminishing and the industry doesn’t have the stability to provide a career. On the contrary, manufacturing executives are desperate to increase the skilled workforce and are willing to pay higher salaries than the market rates.

Kendall County, Texas is the selected site for a new AJW Architectural Products warehouse. The new facility will employ about 120 people in manufacturing-related jobs. A second phase operations move to the area could mean additional growth.

According to business executives surveyed by the University of Alabama, education, including workforce training, is a top issue facing the state. When asked about issues facing their companies, the executives ranked the lack of a qualified workforce as a top three concern.  This skills gap is being addressed nationwide by policymakers and community colleges.

Research conducted by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) showed that the current rate of global gross domestic product growth is set to decline by 40% over the next 50 years. To reverse this decline, an acceleration in productivity growth is necessary.

 

Boosting the productivity of services sectors is particularly vital given that they employ more than 75% of non-agricultural workers today and that this share is growing.

 

MGI identified retail, health care, and technology as liberalized and competitive sectors that could help drive this boost. For example, moving to e-commerce, where labor productivity is more than 80% higher than modern brick-and-mortar retailers.

BridgeValley Community and Technical College is stepping up the bar for education-to-work programs with the help of Toyota. Four of their college students have recently graduated from the developed Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Program at BridgeValley. This program not only provides classroom knowledge, but also the real life hands on experience that Toyota was looking for in their graduating new hires.

 

The program involves 2 days a week of classroom technical training and 3 days of firsthand manufacturing processes training. Not only is this Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program beneficial to Toyota, but also to the students in the community. This new form of education is a great way to guarantee jobs for recent graduates as well as provide Toyota with knowledgeable and experienced workers.

Employment is on the rise in sectors outside the farming industry. Construction, health care, manufacturing, computer systems design, engineering, and many other categories added thousands of jobs in January 2015.

 

The chart below provides details on specific industries. For a closer look by month, see the full article.

A report by Brookings says that select advanced industries are the future. Advanced industries invest heavily in research and development and employ a large percent of STEM workers. They include manufacturing, energy and services, and many others with jobs like aerospace manufacturing and computer systems design. Jobs available in these industries tend to fall in large metro areas, like Seattle and Austin.

In February Rick Snyder announced $50 million in grants for 18 community colleges located in Michigan. The fund will be used solely on the Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program, providing necessary equipment to these 18 colleges. This allows college students to learn the skills manufacturers need and also helps generate more jobs in Michigan. This program is a great example of closing the gap between what college students are learning and the skills they actually need in the industry.

Dr. Jill Biden had plenty to say about the the outlook for community colleges at the 2015 Community College National Legislative Summit. She explains the responsibility of education is not only for students, but also lies within the community. Community colleges are in the process of being strengthened to help all Americans reach their full potential. As Dr. Jill Biden states, "This is the moment for community colleges to shine."

Reshoring is a hot topic in manufacturing. It's good for America. It's good for our future. But, it requires careful planning and execution for success.

 

Government incentives, low-cost real estate and eager communities are attracting companies to reshoring.  However, failure to account for the existing skills of workers in the geographic area can mean disaster for reshoring efforts.

 

New production facilities often bring new types of machinery, which require staffing with workers who are trained to run, maintain, and repair the new technology. Without skilled workers, the production lines remain off.

 

One way to avoid failure -- partner with local community colleges who can train workers in the right skills for the jobs available.  This will take time, but will add to the success of reshoring in the long run.

In January, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced funding for a new center in Florida dedicated to helping the state’s small and medium-size manufacturers innovate and grow.

 

Known as FloridaMakes, the center will offer manufacturers services that will help them develop new products and customers, expand into new markets, adopt new technologies and more.

Alamo Colleges are now enrolling students in tuition-free manufacturing technician training for qualified veterans. This program, funded by a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, prepares graduates for a career in one of three areas: welding, team assembly and machinist. The self-paced classes take from one to three months to complete and are a hybrid of online and laboratory instruction.

 

The training will continue through September 2015.

Call (210) 485-0246 or email mprice@alamo.edu for more information.

Between 1990 and 2010, manufacturing jobs were slowly in decline. But over the past 5 years, employment growth in the manufacturing sector has been on the rise.

 

And while growth in Midwest states (Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) has outpaced Southeast states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina), the overall picture of job growth in both regions is positive news.

The advanced manufacturing sector is thirsting for workers who have math and technical skills. New Jersey's Brookdale Community College is quenching that need with an innovative new program that retrains jobless workers to be productive in today's manufacturing workplace.

 

Programs, like Brookdale's, are popular, as students improve their skills and become more valuable to an employer. The manufacturing industry requires technical skills that weren't needed 28 years ago.

 

The class began Nov. 13 and lasts until March, when the trailer will go to its next stop. Funded by a U.S. Labor Department grant and developed by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development and community colleges, it solves a major problem: How can cash-strapped colleges keep up with fast-changing – and expensive – technology?

 

"Every community college cannot commit to a $140,000 capital investment to serve manufacturing training needs," said Dominic Latorraca, Brookdale's director of career training.

"Community colleges should be free for those willing to work for it," President Obama said in a speech delivered at Pellissippi State Community College on January 9, 2015.

 

This concept builds upon the "Tennessee Promise," an initiative that became law under Governor Bill Haslam's leadership. The difference,  President Obama proposes expanding the concept, calling his initiative "America's College Promise."

 

The idea, expand Americans' education beyond high school, to help America stay competitive in the global market. Students can get a higher education and succeed if they are given the opportunity.

 

Jill Biden reinforced the idea by stating, "Education, especially in community colleges is the answer to workforce issues in the U.S."

When it comes to middle-skills jobs in the United States -- those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree -- there is a misalignment in the overall system that should move a potential employee smoothly from a relevant educational program to a good job.

 

What can be done? The report contends that closing the middle-skills gap will depend on actions that go beyond simply improving the efficiency of today’s system. Rather, the focus must be on developing a new middle-skills ecosystem that provides employers sufficient access to talent with the skills to fill competitively important jobs. Coordinated work among employers, educators and policymakers will be essential.

In November of 2014, NPR explored the changing face of American manufacturing with Planet Money's Adam Davidson, who commented, "You need continuous improvement in your education. The main skill you need is the skill to learn more skills. The one certainty we have is manufacturing is going to look more and more like computer programming and engineering. It's going to involve a lot more brainwork and a lot less brawn work."

 

His comments reflect that the face of manufacturing has changed, and is continuing to change. In the future, the pool of workers is expected to be smaller. And if workers want to succeed, they'll need continuous improvement with on-the-job education.  Many employers today, recognizing this, are partnering with local community colleges to design and offer certificate and degree programs that address their evolving labor needs.

There is a disparity between workforce demands and worker preparation, and unless policymakers make moves to bridge the gap, young adults could face a harsh future.  Government data show there are nearly 5 million unfilled jobs nationwide, while research from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce estimates there are nearly as many millennials out of work.  The jobs are there – it's just the skills that are missing.

 

Georgia State University is using predictive analytics to project how an individual student might fare in different programs and majors.  The University of Texas system also has developed a tool that allows prospective students to browse data on outcomes:  future earnings, student loan debt and places of employment – based on individual majors at each of the system's campuses.

 

Technological developments can help correct the misalignment between colleges and employers.  Though schools will have to become more creative with their delivery methods by using online and competency-based programs, nanodegrees or stackable credentials.

In December, President Obama announced more than $290 million in public-private investment for two new Manufacturing Innovation Hub Competitions. Both competitions will look for new public-private manufacturing innovation institutes; one focused on flexible hybrid electronics, and the other on smart manufacturing.

 

The President also announced $100 million to expand apprenticeships for American workers - a proven training strategy for workers to learn the skills that employers need for American business to grow and thrive in a competitive global environment.

 

The Department of Labor competition will use $100 million or more of H-1B funds to award approximately 25 grants to partnerships between employers, labor organizations, community colleges, and other groups that: launch apprenticeship models in new, high-growth fields, align apprenticeships for further learning and career advancement, and scale apprenticeship models that work.

During the recession, many states' manufacturing employment faced steep job losses. Between January 2007 and mid-2009, Indiana lost more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs. In Michigan, nearly 125,000 manufacturing jobs were lost between January 2008 and January 2009 alone.

 

But today, many of these states have seen employment rebound. Michigan had the fastest manufacturing job growth in the nation from the end of 2009 to the end of 2011. And, in Indiana, manufacturing employment grew more than 3.5% a year from 2010-2012.

 

Overall, investments in manufacturing are having a positive impact on the economy.

Training America’s workers with the skills they need for a good job can help middle class families and help American businesses grow our economy. While America’s businesses have created 10 million jobs over the past 54 months, the longest streak of uninterrupted job growth in our country’s history, more needs to be done to train Americans with the skills they need, and connect them with businesses that are looking for skilled workers.

 

Building on the strategies advanced in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, $450 million in job-driven training grants are going to nearly 270 community colleges across the country. The funding is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program, which is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education.  The ultimate goal is helping job seekers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs in industries like information technology, health care, energy, and advanced manufacturing.

Here are seven suggested New Year’s resolutions for U.S. manufacturers:

 

1. Develop your workforce

2. Educate yourself on emerging technologies

3. Invest in sustainability

4. Optimize your supply chain

5. Try exporting

6. Get certified

7. Embrace lean and continuous improvement

A Business Roundtable / Change the Equation survey, conducted in December 2014, asked 126 CEOs about U.S. STEM skills. Almost 98 percent of them said the skills gap threatens their businesses.

 

According to the survey, approximately 60 percent of job openings require basic literacy in science, technology, engineering and math and 42 percent require advanced STEM knowledge.  However, 38 percent of the CEOs said at least half of their entry-level applicants lack basic STEM literacy, and 28 percent said at least half of new entry-level hires lack basic STEM literacy.

 

A shortage of adequately skilled workers in the U.S. is a problem faced by most companies and could compromise the country's economic competitiveness if left unaddressed. Fortifying a strong pipeline to funnel skilled workers into U.S. companies, business leaders say, should begin as early as grade school.

Workforce experts see community colleges as essential for providing workers with "middle skills." But the evidence suggests that while demand is growing for middle-skill workers, the U.S. educational system is turning out relatively fewer graduates at this level.

 

President Obama made a case for free community college; hoping the program might provide employers with a better-skilled workforce and restore growing economic opportunity for many workers.

Across the U.S., by 2017, an estimated 2.5 million new so-called "middle-skill" jobs - ones that require some training but not a bachelor's degree - will be added to the workforce, according to a recent USA Today analysis.  The jobs typically pay $13 to $20 an hour in all sorts of areas of what used to be known as blue-collar endeavors.

 

In Oakland County, north of Detroit, where many automakers, suppliers, and affiliated companies conduct and are expanding research, product development, and engineering operations, there will be nearly 60,000 new skilled-trades jobs and other high-demand occupations, through 2019, that require less than a four-year college degree.

 

"The baby-boomers are starting to age out of the workforce," notes Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

1. SMAC – social, mobile, analytics and cloud – represents the next wave for driving higher customer engagement and growth opportunities.

2. Social media is forcing manufacturers to become more customer-centric.

3. Internet of Things (IoT) will increase automation and job opportunities.

4. Greater capital investment.

5. The emergence of Next-Shoring — developing products closer to where they are sold allows for faster replenishment of store shelves.

Only about 20% of manufacturing jobs now are unskilled positions any able-bodied worker can fill. The rest require vocational training, an associate’s degree or certifications.  Working with the computerized equipment in many factories requires an understanding of algebra and the ability to do basic computations. A dependable, drug-free high-school grad might earn $10 to $15 per hour at an entry-level manufacturing job, with pay rising along with more experience and on-the-job training. But pay will obviously be higher still for workers who show up with specialized training or certifications.

Five strategies for strengthening the talent supply chain in the manufacturing industry:

1. Take advantage of digital technologies to make skills training available any time, anywhere.

2. Collaborate with educational institutions to upskill current employees and build a pipeline of future skilled workers.

3. Build standardized skill sets and employee engagement using certification programs.

4. Utilize apprenticeships to build a highly skilled workforce.

5. Expand the candidate pool by hiring for potential rather than "perfect" fit.

10 Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers to receive award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  This includes centers in Texas, Michigan, Virginia, and Tennessee.  The MEP centers help small and mid-sized manufacturers create and retain jobs.

The Metropolitan Statistical Areas reported that between April 2010 and April 2014 most manufacturing jobs added were either major metropolitan areas and/or located in the Upper Midwest.  The number one metro area in terms of manufacturing jobs added during this period was none other than Detroit, which has added 46,100 manufacturing jobs over the past four years, representing a 25 percent increase.

Manufacturing accounted for 19.0% of Michigan's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013.  Ranking as the 5th most significant U.S. state for manufacturing.

Among the nation’s 333 Metropolitan Statistical Areas with available data, the manufacturing sector added 428,000 jobs from April 2010 to April 2014, representing 70 percent of the total national increase in manufacturing employment.

 

The number one metro area in terms of manufacturing jobs added during this period was Detroit, adding more than 46,100 manufacturing jobs over the past four year, representing a 25 percent increase.

Policymakers are interested in matching worker skills with industry sectors important to their communities, and many of the efforts put into place during the legislative sessions focus on building long-term relationships between industry and higher education.

 

Proposed legislation aims to reduce the skills gap through scholarships, grants, loan forgiveness, and internships.

In 2013, Kentucky exported a state record of $25.3 billion in goods to approximately 200 countries. And over the past five years, Kentucky's manufacturing GDP has grown by more than a third, making up a significant portion of the state's growing export market.

According to a June 2014 report by J.P. Morgan Chase, Alabama's durable goods and non-durable goods manufacturing sectors account for a bigger share of the state's economy compared with the national average. One factor behind this above-average performance is Alabama's reviving motor vehicle industry. As a state, Alabama accounts for 6.2% of auto manufacturing employment within the U.S.

In 2013, manufacturing accounted for 17.3% of South Carolina's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making it the state's largest industry, with durable goods contributing $17.9 billion and non-durable goods contributing $13.8 billion. Overall, the state's GDP grew 3.4 percent from 2012 to 2013.

The largest sector of Ohio's economy was manufacturing, accounting for almost 17.7% of the state's total output in 2013. With production of $99.8 billion worth of goods, Ohio ranked 4th among America's overall manufacturing output.

A 2011 report published by The Manufacturing Institute shared that as many as 600,000 manufacturing jobs went unfilled that year because employers couldn't find the skilled workers to fill them. This is a remarkable fact as the country is facing an unemployment rate that hovers above 9%.

 

One reason for the skills gap is that the national education curriculum is not producing workers with the basic skills they need. Industry respondents indicate inadequate problem-solving skills as the most serious skill deficiency.

 

Companies must incorporate competency modeling into their training and recruitment initiatives. Companies must understand what skills they really need and then use targeted training approaches to make sure their workforce is prepared to train and deliver.

 

Public policy changes and participation by local community colleges must also occur. Where companies should consider their proximity to educational and research facilities, government agencies and educational institutions should create a clear path for students to receive the right skills and training for manufacturing jobs.

To increase investment and create jobs, in September 2013 the Obama Administration launched the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) – an initiative to spur communities to develop integrated, long-term economic development strategies that strengthen their competitive edge in attracting global manufacturers and their supply chains to our local communities.

 

For instance, the thirteen counties of Southeastern Michigan that produce 22% of all vehicles made in America account for over 70% of total U.S. auto research investment. One such initiative led by their Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine is building on its strengths in connected-vehicle technologies. These technologies include allowing cars to communicate with each other and the road in order to carry their passengers more safely and efficiently to their destinations.

Manufacturers are increasingly looking to high schools and community colleges to fill current staffing needs and gear up for a wave of Baby Boomer retirements. Educators are trying to dispel student's misconceptions about the industry and spark their interest before they choose other jobs or head to four-year colleges, a costly career investment that has yielded disappointing results for some graduates.

 

Manufacturing is no longer physical, labor-intensive work.  Today the need is for candidates with a math and science skill set that is capable of working with computers and robots that are doing what the employee used to do by hand.

 

U.S. community colleges are adopting a German education model that channels students into skilled labor jobs.  This keeps education costs down for the student and fills the skills gap for employers.  In fact, President Obama's Advanced Manufacturing Partnership is working to spread the community-college-apprenticeship model across the USA.

The Tennessee Valley DRIVE meeting held at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) drew leaders from across the region. One main point of discussion was how to capture funding from the $1.3 billion in federal economic assistance available through the 2013 Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program. DRIVE leaders and partners hope to win grants that can strengthen the auto industry through academic, government, and industry collaboration.

Obama has championed the manufacturing and “advanced" manufacturing sectors as viable, rewarding career paths for Americans. His administration supports an apprenticeship program for modern manufacturing, encourages startups to build products in the U.S., and has launched a plan to create a network of up to 15 regional Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation. Overall, his administration is getting young people involved in "making" to spur the resurgence of the manufacturing industry, and growth throughout the U.S.

 

With science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), critical thinking and problem-solving abilities high on the president's list of skills that must be attained by American youth in order to succeed in the 21st century global economy, it is easy to see why Obama would embrace the Maker Movement, which promotes entrepreneurship, creativity, exploration, innovation, failure (yes, it's OK to fail!), teamwork and self-directed learning.

From April 2010 to April 2014, three Michigan Metro areas -- Detroit, Warren, and Livonia -- added 46,100 manufacturing jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Following close behind on the list of top 20 manufacturing growth metros was Houston, Sugar Land, and Baytown, TX with the addition of 42,000 jobs.

 

The number one metro area in terms of manufacturing jobs added during this period was Detroit (25%); making a strong case that manufacturing does have a future in this region.

The United States has been the leading producer of manufactured goods for more than 100 years, and the manufacturing sector is once again adding jobs and opening new factories at its fastest rate in two decades.

 

Yet, new and growing competition abroad are threatening the U.S.'s strengths in manufacturing innovation and technologies. To minimize these threats, the first Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) identified strategies to increase U.S. competitiveness for advanced manufacturing.

 

One strategy – upgrading community-college workforce training programs and deploying the talent of returning veterans to meet critical manufacturing skills needs – aims to connect more Americans with skills for successful careers in manufacturing.

By 2017, an estimated 2.5 million new, middle-skill jobs are expected to be added to the workforce, accounting for nearly 40% of all job growth, according to a USA TODAY analysis of local data from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and CareerBuilder.

 

As American companies have found that moving jobs offshore was not a good approach for production that requires highly skilled labor, re-shoring is producing better paying technician jobs back in the States.

 

But that means more training, given that nearly 80% of the new blue-collar jobs require some training, but far less school than a bachelor's degree.  Community and technical colleges are trying to fill the gap by enrolling young adults who either drop out of a four-year college or can't find a job after graduation.

While a growing number of jobs require some form of postsecondary education, the jobs that do not are of increasingly low quality and pay. A recent study by the Pew Research Center confirms the negative consequences for those without postsecondary education: 22 percent of young adults with just a high school diploma live in poverty today, compared with 7 percent in 1979.

 

College credentials are the price of economic opportunity today.  The educational requirements of jobs have been steadily increasing over the last two decades, making postsecondary education a necessity for anyone wishing to avoid a lifetime in dead-end, low-wage jobs.

 

As pathways into the middle-class has narrowed, a large and growing share of students in college today are not pursuing bachelor degrees.  They are enrolling in career education programs at the certificate and associate's degree level that are designed to prepare them for entry into a specific occupation.

More than 75% of manufacturers report a moderate to severe shortage of skilled resources. Given the financial impact of the skills shortage, it is not surprising that companies are investing more in training programs.

 

Steps taken by industry leaders, to successfully address the manufacturing skills shortage, include:  partnering with local community colleges and organizations to offer online, remote, and formal skills training to existing workers, building pipelines to employment for future workers, and using a certification approach to skills building.

From February 2010 through April 2014 the states that topped the list of manufacturing jobs added were Michigan (96,800), Texas (73,00), Indiana (63,500), Ohio (58,000), and Wisconsin (42,600).

A shortage in workers with skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) cause desirable jobs to go unfilled. Improving educational and training opportunities to acquire STEM knowledge should be part of any strategy to help unemployed or low-wage workers improve their earnings and employability.

According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the manufacturing sector accounts for about two-thirds of all private research and development in the U.S., and it is also important to innovation and national security. More importantly, a manufacturing job is able to support other jobs in the community.

Last year in the U.S., 39% of employers reported difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent, a "skills gap". This issue has become controversial because people mean different things by "skills gap." Some public officials have sought to blame persistent unemployment on technical skill shortages. Today’s unemployment is largely a cyclical matter, caused by the recession and best addressed by macroeconomic policy. Yet although skills are not a major contributor to today’s unemployment, the longer-term issue of worker skills is important both for managers and for policy.

 

Although it is difficult for workers and employers to keep up with emerging technologies, this difficulty creates opportunity. Those workers who acquire the latest technical skills earn good pay; those employers who hire the right workers and train them well can realize the competitive advantages that come with new information technologies.

Texas factory activity increased again in September 2014, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.  The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose markedly from 6.8 to 17.6, indicating output grew at a faster pace than in August. Labor market indicators reflected continued employment growth and longer workweeks. The September employment index posted a fourth robust reading, holding fairly steady at 10.6. Twenty-four percent of firms reported net hiring compared with 14 percent reporting net layoffs. The hours worked index rose to a five-month high of 9.5, indicating a stronger rise in hours worked than in recent months.

M-SAMC partner, Bluegrass Community & Technical College (BCTC), had 41 students start its Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program in July, making 2014 the largest incoming class since the program began in Fall 2010. In the program, students learn not only the technical skills, but the soft skills that are needed to succeed in their career.

The role of trust in a team involves more than just telling the truth; it involves following through on commitments, helping the team succeed, and knowing when and when not to commit.

Detroit's entrepreneurs go beyond growing their business; they want to rebuild and grow their city.  Some educated in other states and some locally, all have used their technical education to build new businesses at home.

Career opportunities include engineers, designers, machinists, and computer programmers among others.  The annual average salary of entry-level manufacturing engineers is nearly $60,000.  The annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000.

The manufacturing sector has added more than 700,000 jobs over the last four-and-a-half years and is growing at twice the rate of GDP.  Manufacturing career opportunities include engineers, designers, machinists, computer programmers among others.  The annual average salary of entry-level manufacturing engineers is nearly $60,000, with an annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803) was passed, with bipartisan support, through both Chambers of Congress and awaits the President's signature.  The legislation was designed to close the skills gap, make graduates more employable, and fill new types of manufacturing jobs.

87% of job gains in manufacturing relate to: transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, and machinery.

With a 38% output growth since the end of the recession, the manufacturing industry has a bright future led by new innovations.

Today's manufacturers, whether they are making cars, airplanes, or iPhone parts, are looking for engineers, designers, machinists and computer programmers. Many of the jobs pay well—the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,505 in 2012, including pay and benefits—but they can be hard to fill.

In August, General Motors (GM) announced it was moving production of the Cadillac SRX from Mexico to Spring Hill, TN. This move means a $185 million investment in the Spring Hill engine factory, plus the creation or retention of 1,800 jobs.

The manufacturing job sector has added 646,000 jobs, and manufacturers are actively recruiting to fill another 243,000 positions.  More than half of the jobs added were in five states: Michigan, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Across the United States, technical and community colleges carry serious economic weight. The cumulative impact of the nation’s nearly 1,200 community colleges is immense. A study performed by Economic Modeling Specialists International for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) showed that two-year colleges had an $809 billion net impact on the American economy in 2012.

The White House aims to strengthen ties between community colleges and private companies to shrink the skills gap.  Reversing the decline of vocational programs to address the manufacturing field, as it has become more technologically sophisticated, will equip workers with the mathematical and technological skills needed to secure good-paying jobs.

The “New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative” is a plan to better train workers for skilled jobs. It focuses on “middle-skills jobs,” which require some training past high school but not necessarily a four-year degree, and are most in demand in Virginia and elsewhere.

 

Virginia's Governor Terry McAuliffe, who likes to call himself the state’s “chief jobs creation officer,” wants workers to earn "credentials, licenses, apprenticeships and associate degrees" that translate directly to jobs.

 

Andy Van Kleunen, executive director of the nonprofit National Skills Coalition agrees, "It's a smart way to target investments and skills, and it's going to get more people to jobs more quickly."

New National Skills Coalition (NSC) fact sheets show strong demand for middle-skill jobs in the 50 states and DC. Middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States. However, less than half of the country's workers are trained to the middle-skill level.

 

As the fact sheets show, this skill gap keeps states' economies from growing and employers from hiring. States can close their middle-skill gaps by:

* adopting policies that support sector partnerships and career pathways,

* making job-driven investments,

* directing policymakers to better align workforce and education investments with employer skill needs, and

* working with NSC to promote these strategies for change.

The Pathways to Progress initiative gives low-income youth opportunities to build their career readiness skills:  from helping young people obtain meaningful summer jobs and financial literacy education, to establishing youth-focused entrepreneurship camps in 10 cities.

The Engineering Innovation Blue Card(TM) process helps solve company problems by defining priorities. The next time you're asked to help solve a problem, start by answering the questions below; the answers will help you focus and may lead to an innovative solution.

* Does this problem represent a new opportunity or a system improvement?

* Does it require a leap far into the future to solve?

* Is the solution needed immediately?

* Is this a problem for the entire company or one department?

* Why focus our energy on it now?

* What might we try next?

With help from the National Governors Association, selected states will receive grants and opportunities to learn from one another, and make progress within the following areas:

 

  • Articulate and implement a strong vision connecting the education and training systems with the needs of the economy;
  • Integrate and use education and workforce data to inform policy, track progress and measure success;
  • Build industry and education partnerships; and
  • Modify the use of resources and incentives to support attainment of the integrated vision.

 

These workforce development initiatives aim to link post-secondary degree and certificate holders to the emerging job market.

Programs like SelectUSA are driving investment into U.S. labor capital through reshoring and investment by foreign owned companies.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics & Statistics Administration, the U.S. workforce is 30% more productive than Germany's and twice as productive as South Korea's.

Dorchester County, South Carolina:  Innovative Machining Technology Inc. is opening a new manufacturing facility in Dorchester County. The $7.8 million investment is expected to create 45 new jobs, with hiring beginning in late 2014.

The greater issue of establishing new ways of thinking about labor and management must be addressed by every city hoping to rebuild its manufacturing base.

Attending career or job fairs can help you connect with employers, expand your network, create engagement opportunities, and get feedback. Visit MITalent.org for a listing of upcoming career events in Michigan.

Workforce experts and business leaders agree that there is a "skills gap" wherein individuals with post-secondary education are unable to fill the jobs that are available or find employment consistent with their degrees. Despite the per-capita income impact of obtaining a baccalaureate degree, cynicism draws toward liberal-arts degrees. However, support for community college degrees and technical-training certificates is on the rise.

Manufacturing and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs are responding to industry demands for graduates who are prepared to succeed in the ever-changing workplace of tomorrow and today. Through Program Based Learning (PBL) Projects, students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the ability to work in teams, and the ability to transfer skills and knowledge to new situations.

There’s a common perception that American manufacturing is in decline. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, a shortage of qualified workers is holding American manufacturing back. An aptitude for mathematics and technology are in demand for these skilled trade positions; skills that can be acquired through obtaining certificates and two-year college degrees.

In September, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2996, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI).  H.R. 2996 directs the Secretary of Commerce to support the establishment of institutes across the country dedicated to improving U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing, increasing domestic production and accelerating the development of an advanced manufacturing workforce.

Separate regions of the U.S. specialize in different sectors of labor; this isolates skills gaps when they occur. Community colleges can best identify these gaps by making use of labor market data and business surveys. By identifying these gaps and understanding employers labor demands, community colleges can best prepare students for employment through offering relevant credentials, certificates, and degree programs.

Re-shoring jobs to the U.S. are a result of our skills and productivity, innovation, energy, and access to markets. Harnessing programs such as SelectUSA will continue to strengthen our economy, create high-paying U.S. jobs, and assist job growth in competitive U.S. industries.

American automotive companies need to balance the needs and demands of customers, investors, regulators, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the public. But without pressure, there would be no diamonds. Tough competition makes efficiency, inventiveness, flexibility and decisiveness mandatory.

By 2020, Millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans. By 2025 it's estimated they will make up as much as 75% of the workforce. Understanding the generation’s values offers a window into the future of corporate America.

In the U.S., manufacturing jobs have shifted to certificate, credential, and degree bearing labor fields; computers, robots, and automotive equipment are at the forefront. The lowest rung labor jobs have lost out to equipment, software, and technology. Affordable competency-based education are now necessary to get a foot in the door.

For more than 10 years, Toyota's Huntsville, Alabama engine plant has kept manufacturing waste out of a landfill using a 3Rs approach -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Texas State Technical College (TSTC) brought together employers, educators, and policymakers to develop a new system, largely built around the Common Skills Language project, that aligns curriculum with workforce demands and matches-up students with employer needs.

Programs like SelectUSA are driving investment into U.S. labor capital through reshoring and investment by foreign owned companies.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics & Statistics Administration, the U.S. workforce is 30% more productive than Germany's and twice as productive as South Korea's.

By a landslide 95-3 vote, the Senate passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); initiating changes to the job training system for young people with disabilities.

The greater issue of establishing new ways of thinking about labor and management must be addressed by every city hoping to rebuild its manufacturing base.

Mayville Engineering Co. (MEC) expects to add 160 jobs at its new $10 million manufacturing facility in Atkins, VA. Featuring high-tech equipment to manufacture products, MEC will require a skilled workforce to operate and maintain the facility. An open house to showcase the new facility is scheduled for December 3, 2014.

Our emerging economy will provide few high-paying jobs for workers with a high school education or less. To help citizens excel and access a middle-class life or beyond, the National Governors Association has announced support of governors' efforts to align education & training systems to the needs of states economies. Job placement focus is sighted on increasing the number of credential, certificate, and degree completing students.

9 out of 10 manufacturers are having trouble finding skilled workers, reports a 2013 SME and Brandon Hall survey. Further 64% of manufacturers say productivity losses are a result of a talent gap and 56% report the gap in skilled labor has impacted their company's ability to grow.

 

M-SAMC aims to reduce the talent gaps with competency-based education driven by performance-based learning.  Applying a competence model approach to professional certifications increases student placement, post-college.

Manufacturing has begun to bounce back since total employment bottomed out in 2010. There are now about 12.1 million manufacturing workers in the United States, with some forecasters expecting a broader resurgence due to low U.S. energy costs, rising labor rates in other countries and the higher skill levels required to work with robots and computers.

 

Approximately 80% of today’s manufacturing jobs require vocational training, an associate’s degree or certifications.  Job shortages include welders, electricians, machinists, press operators, and metalworkers.

Toyota Motor Corp. says it's expanding its technical center in Michigan and moving 250 jobs from Kentucky.

The Accenture 2014 Manufacturing Skills and Training Study found that 82% of U.S. manufacturers surveyed plan to increase production and more than 50% of companies surveyed plan to increase U.S.-based production by at least 5% in the next five years.

In the United States 646,000 manufacturing jobs were created from February 2010 until May 2014. At the same time, manufacturers began increasing workers' hours and boosting their payrolls. With the number of manufacturing plants increasing for the first time in over ten years, these job gains and the need for highly-skilled workers to fill them will continue.

What's your metro area's quality of life (QOL)? A high QOL can attract more entrepreneurs and the highly-skilled workers they employee. Promoting low crime rates, low poverty levels, access to recreational facilities, and high educational attainment can differentiate your metro area and spur the new business growth your community needs.

From April 2010 to April 2014, Detroit ranked number one for adding new manufacturing jobs with 46,100, a 25% increase.

Poverty is a significant and growing problem for America. In many regions in North America, community and technical colleges serve a critical role in supporting, and often lead, regional economic prosperity planning and collaboration.

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"Aligning Education with Employer Needs"

Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (M-SAMC)

5101 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128

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This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership.

*AMTEC is supported entirely by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technology Education (ATE) Program Grant (0903193). (AMTEC,NSF ATE DUE-0903193)