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back to index backAMERItalk November,  2016


Keeping Up With Advanced Manufacturing

The U.S. will need to fill about 3.5 million jobs in advanced manufacturing in the next decade, but as many as 2 million of these jobs may remain unfilled if we don’t close the skills gap.

Earlier this year, the National Science and Technology Council sent the White House a report entitled A Snapshot of Priority Technology Areas Across the Federal Government. The report included a stark warning about the availability of skilled workers for one of the hottest growth sectors in the U.S.: advanced manufacturing.

A vibrant manufacturing sector needs an equally vibrant workforce, educated in a multitude of fields from engineering to economics. These skilled craftsmen, technicians, designers, planners, researchers, engineers and managers will be in high demand: over the next decade, we will need to fill nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs, although 2 million of these positions may remain unfilled due to a skills gap,” declared Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation of the president’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, in his introduction to the report, which was forwarded to Congress.

At the present time, Kalil said, 80 percent of manufacturers currently report a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions.

Manufacturing plays an outsized role in the U.S. economy: from the greatest economic multiplier of any other sector, to the creation of four additional jobs for every manufacturing job, it is clear that the manufacturing sector is a critical driver to our country’s prosperity and security. These economic impacts grow as we add next-generation technologies: advanced manufacturing produces sophisticated and exclusive products that we can sell around the world, leading to greater economic prosperity and increasing the job multiplier to 16-to-1.

A vibrant manufacturing sector, especially one invigorated with the latest technologies, requires focused investments along the entire technology innovation pipeline,” Kalil said.

In addition to a skilled workforce, he added, an innovation pipeline stocked with ideas, from the laboratory bench to the manufacturing shop floor, is required to ‘make it here’ so that we can ‘sell it everywhere.’ The advanced manufacturing processes and products we desire—the types that lead to greater economic prosperity—is the result of knowledge, accumulated through research and development, translated systematically into know-how.”

What follows is an update on locations that are staying ahead of the curve in meeting the essentials needed for sustainable growth in the advanced manufacturing sector.

TENNESSEE LEADS IN ADVANCED MANUFACTURING JOB GROWTH

Tennessee recently ranked No. 1 in the nation for growth in advanced industry jobs by The Brookings Institution. Tennessee grew these jobs by 4.6 percent annually from 2013 to 2015, outpacing the national average of 2.46 percent.

Our goal has been to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, and this recognition by Brookings shows we’re making tremendous progress by adding highly-skilled jobs faster than any other state in the country,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said.

Major assets luring advanced manufacturers to Tennessee include initiatives to expand postsecondary attainment such as the Tennessee Promise and Drive to 55, which aim to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree to 55 percent by 2025 and ensure employers have a pipeline of skilled workers.

To achieve that end, Gov. Haslam introduced the Tennessee Promise in 2015. The first of its kind, the Tennessee Promise offers two free years of community or technical college to eligible high school graduates. More than 16,000 students enrolled in the Tennessee Promise for the fall of 2015. In the first year of the Tennessee Promise, 40 percent of all FAFSA applications came from Tennessee. There has been an 81 percent retention rate among the 2015-2016 class of Tennessee Promise students.

To read entire article, please click here.

Source: Business Facilities - GAI




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