#251. Manufacturing, Manufacturing, Manufacturing

Posted on | The Agurban

Manufacturing, Manufacturing, Manufacturing

The U.S. economy is the largest manufacturing economy in the world, and it continues to grow. We may be losing some manufacturing jobs, but our worker productivity is at an all-time high. Manufacturing advancement will continue to lead our nation out of the 2008-2009 recession. We have found two programs that are focused on helping current and future workers learn about manufacturing.

Advanced Technology Services, Inc. (ATS) is a Peoria, IL, based company that “makes factories run better by providing the management of production equipment maintenance, information technology and spare parts repair.” Because of complaints the company received from manufacturers that entry-level employees often lacked the necessary math and maintenance skills to succeed, ATS set out to do something about that deficiency by creating a game that helps students visualize what a career in manufacturing could be like, and teaching about the different roles in a manufacturing plant. The goal of the program is to demonstrate that a career in manufacturing can be challenging and fun as well as lucrative. So far the program has reached about 2,500 students in Greenville, County, SC, where ATS has an office, and the program has recently been rolled out in schools around their Peoria, IL, headquarters.

Another project that will focus on helping manufacturers is the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics. Vincennes University (IN) broke ground in October 2009 on the $12 million dollar center that will provide advanced training for current and future area workers. Dick Helton, VU President stated, “This represents a significant investment designed to support both current and future economic growth. This Center will be flexible and adaptive to truly meet the needs of Indiana’s manufacturing and technical workforce.” The Center will meet the needs of high school students who wish to continue on to manufacturing degree programs and assist those existing workers who seek to expand their skill set to remain competitive in today’s high-tech industries.

Below are three graphs that I used at my talk at the Midwest Studies Institute at Monmouth College last month. These graphs show the continued force that manufacturing plays in our economy.

Note that while the number of Americans working in manufacturing peaked in the 1980s and has trended lower…

…the productivity rate has consistently increased. Productivity gains are why we like manufacturing – it leads to higher wages.

The result of all these manufacturing employees producing at a higher rate is that American workers are producing more goods than at anytime in our history.

The total GDP of the manufacturing sector continues to increase.

Manufacturing is a driving force in our economy, and these programs offered by ATS and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics will lead the way for workers in the future.