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Why Aren’t More Students Pursuing Careers in Manufacturing?

January 03, 2019

Why Aren’t More Students Pursuing Careers in Manufacturing?

The future is here, and it’s automated manufacturing. With production on the rise and unemployment at an all-time low, automation becomes the go-to solution for labor and productivity obstacles. To fill these job vacancies, the industry requires resources such as skilled engineers, computer programmers, and technicians.

The number of students and applicants enrolling in the corresponding training programs is not, however, tracking with the increased job demand, much to the puzzlement of school officials and the anxiety of manufacturers. The answer: offer tomorrow’s employees – the students of today — a solid foundation built on interactive technology, reinvigorate the image of manufacturing, and communicate the career advantages of manufacturing in their formative years.

Eliminate Misconceptions

Those in the industry are watching the skills gap grow. Many are collaborating with government agencies and school districts to include an emphasis on STEM to prepare future generations.

So why aren’t more students pursuing careers in manufacturing? It could be the very lessons they are learning in school. History teaches the importance of manufacturing and trade as well as their societal implications, but the industrial revolution is NOT today’s manufacturing. Modern manufacturing is not dark, dirty, and dangerous as those lessons portray. In fact, clean and modern manufacturing floors look like state-of-the-art laboratories.

Provide Experiences

From participating in career days to hosting open houses, everyone in manufacturing needs to do their part to give tomorrow’s workers exposure to the technology of today. High school co-ops are back on the rise.

To help prepare students to enter the workforce immediately after graduation, schools like those in Oakland County, Michigan offer technical, engineering, and robotics programs to high schools. The Oakland Schools Technical Campuses provide associates degrees for topics like collision repair, cyber security, machining, and welding. Thanks to these cooperative programs, students will graduate having received a valuable, robust education with which they can enter into a rewarding career.

Getting Back on Track

Industry and education are working together to make sure we get it right from here on out. Industrial automation suppliers like FANUC America have developed educational programs that provide schools with real cutting edge technology, so students can enter the workforce immediately and pursue their passions.

Well equipped with modern robotic technology, schools like Oakland Community College offer robust, nationally recognized robotics certification programs. By educating students in robotics, simulation, controllers, and programming, these courses are tailored to meet the needs of the growing manufacturing industry. In addition to providing students with a head start, integrating robotics into school curriculums reinforces innovation, creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.

 

Career Paths for Every Educational Level

With all of the advancements robotics and automation have brought about, the Industrial IoT could bring the greatest revolutions of all. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) combines robotics and automation, advanced analytics, and people. Secure devices connect with one another through secure networks, resulting in systems that can monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and deliver valuable new insights like never before.

These advanced manufacturing concepts are creating specialty career paths in manufacturing that will be unfilled unless we can attract more people to manufacturing. The important thing is to remember careers in automation are available for every station in the educational journey — from high school diplomas, to two-year Associates Degrees, all the way through PhDs. There are countless exciting opportunities for curious, driven, problem-solving individuals.

“Manufacturing is becoming more and more automated every day. Everything is being done by machines, creating a need for a higher educated workforce. The students that are coming here and learning about robotics are getting those higher paying jobs.”
--Bob DuCharme
Instructor, Oakland Schools Technical Campus, Clarkston, MI

"Our two-year robotics training program is based on STEM initiatives that have prepared students to go directly to work in high-paying careers. In fact, since we began the program in the 1980s, we’ve achieved nearly 100% placement for our graduates, all accepting positions with average salaries exceeding $60K."
--John Sefcovic
Robotics & Automation Program Faculty, Oakland Community College

Do You Have the Technical Edge?

Whether you are high school student, recent graduate, or someone that is looking for a high demand career path, a technical career might be right for you.

Like all fields of study, STEM requires a unique type of personality, goals, and mindset.

Take our quiz to discover your STEM potential!


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