With nearly half a million job openings in manufacturing today, the industry continues to struggle to fill good, well paying jobs. With the manufacturing industries continued growth, things are not likely to improve without some radical change in the perception of STEM-related jobs.
Manufacturers and manufacturing organizations across the country are mobilizing to address the skill gap by reskilling the next generation of manufacturing professionals. In one example, the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute Manufacturers has introduced highly effective programs such as Heroes MAKE America, Manufacturing Day and STEP Ahead are making great strides in connecting women and veterans with good careers in manufacturing.
Another great example is Boeing, who announced on September 24th their investment partnership with National Science Foundation to help close the skills gap. Their statement read in part:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced a new $21 million partnership to accelerate training in critical skill areas and increase diversity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields…
Supported by $10 million in funding from Boeing, NSF will partner with world-class learning institutions to develop online training in critical skill areas for students and Boeing employees. These skill areas include model-based engineering and systems engineering, mechatronics, robotics, data science and sensor analytics, program management and artificial intelligence. The first project is expected to launch in 2019.
To complement Boeing’s investment, NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources will invest $10 million in awards focused on reskilling and increasing the skill level of the U.S. STEM workforce.
“We are grateful to Boeing for investing in the future of the U.S. STEM workforce,” said France Cordova, NSF director and leader of the NSF INCLUDES initiative. “These kinds of public-private partnerships can lead to a more technically-proficient workforce with the skills needed to expand our national research and development base.”
This most recent commitment delivers on Boeing’s 2017 promise to invest $300 million in employees, infrastructure and local communities as a result of U.S. tax reform, with $100 million dedicated to workforce development.
This announcement is exactly what the manufacturing community needs more of in order to keep American Manufacturing strong for years to come.