Top U.S. Manufacturing Workforce Challenges And How To Address Them

The manufacturing industry has made impressive progress over the past few years. Public awareness about the modern industry is improving, more jobs are returning to the country and new technologies are driving the industry forward. However, there are still some challenges the industry faces today that must be addressed. Recruiting the skilled workforce that is necessary for today’s modern manufacturing industry, offering proper training for new technologies and bolstering the U.S. manufacturing workforce are proving to be a challenge.

Recruiting The Right Workforce

Industry today is much different than manufacturing operations a decade ago. Digital technologies, advanced robotic systems and enterprise software are all creating a new manufacturing environment. The modern workforce must have the skills and know-how to handle the digital systems which have become so popular throughout the industry. As fewer schools offer shop classes and more students shy away from manufacturing, it can be a challenge to find the right employees.

A manufacturer that takes a creative approach to recruitment may be able to hurdle this obstacle and find the right workforce that fits their needs. Focusing on the modern aspect of the industry, businesses can leverage the emerging workforces love for technology. This doesn’t mean just showing off new robots and software, manufacturers must utilize modern recruitment practices to show they aren’t stuck in the past. As the manufacturing industry begins to require employees to be comfortable with new technology, it’ll be important to modernize not only the facility but their approach to recruitment as well.

Consistent Training & Education

With things moving so quickly throughout the industry, even a well-trained employee cannot expect to be prepared for the next major disruption. Consistent training and education must be available to keep a workforce up-to-date on the latest technologies and processes making their way to the industry.

Offering training and education seminars to ensure the staff is comfortable with the latest manufacturing technology could prove invaluable. Get creative when it comes to training, keeping things interesting can go a long way in motivating a workforce to maintain their skills and knowledge. This could range from mandatory meetings to discuss the latest trends and how to handle them all the way to a mass email with an interesting and relevant webinar. It’ll be vital that these sessions remain relevant as any irrelevant information can damage the effectiveness of any training a manufacturer may offer.

Cultivating a Modern U.S. Manufacturing Workforce

Manufacturing has fallen out of style throughout the United States. High Schools, teachers and parents alike are steering children away from a career in the industry. Manufacturing is bogged down by outdated stigmas such as being a dark, dangerous and dirty industry. This has led to a generation avoiding manufacturing at all costs.

This is a challenge that a manufacturer cannot solve on their own. Bolstering the entire U.S. workforce sounds like a monumental task but steps can be taken to help improve the situation. Partnering up with community colleges and high schools can achieve great things for a community. A large portion of a manufacturer’s workforce comes from the immediate area surrounding a facility so it makes sense to start locally. These small collaborative initiatives can have a large impact on a manufacturer’s workforce as well as the students futures.

Overall even with all the progress being made throughout the manufacturing industry, without a workforce, it will not be able to thrive. Many think robots can take over, some even fear this day however people will always be at the heart of manufacturing. Understanding the challenges is a perfect place to start when working to come up with solutions for these issues.

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