The manufacturing industry has gotten a reputation for being dirty, dark, and noisy. A place full of old-timers working on old machines. An industry past its prime and going nowhere. As we can attest, that is not even close to the truth. Today’s manufacturing industry uses state of the art equipment in advanced facilities. It is a 21st century industry looking for qualified workers.
How can we get this message out to young people looking for careers? The educational system is helping us out with the addition of STEM education starting in elementary schools. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and is a program that has been adopted in districts across the country. The goal is to engage students with technology while also preparing them for careers in technologically advanced fields.
Manufacturing is now one of those technologically advanced fields. All design work is done on computers with specialized skills required to run computer-aided design (CAD) software. Machinery is automated and requires high levels of expertise to run the hardware and software. Engineering, robotics, electronics, computer programming, and mechatronics are just some of the specialties involved in manufacturing. And, all of these operations require critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are born out of lessons in science and math.
With the help of schools and industry leaders, the goal is to change the way manufacturing is viewed. The industry is vital to the success of our national economy—it’s a foundation for communities and offers good paying jobs. STEM education is a great start to drive interest in technologies and opening up the door for viable careers in manufacturing.