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The first Friday in October inaugurates Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), kicking off a month-long series of more than 400 events designed to promote manufacturing careers to students, teachers, parents, job seekers and local community members. The overarching theme: Creators Wanted in Modern Manufacturing. Mark your calendars and tell your friends and colleagues about this year’s MFG Day as well as the associated Creators Wanted immersive experience.
Held annually since 2012, MFG Day is a joint initiative of the Manufacturing Institute (MI) and the Fabricators and Manufacturing Association (FMA). The purpose of MFG Day is to encourage thousands of companies and educational institutions to open their doors for people interested in seeing what modern manufacturing actually looks like. Last year, due to the pandemic, all programs were held virtually. This year there is a mix of virtual and in-person events. A list of all events is found here. Also be sure to check out MFG Day’s social media here, here and here.
The U.S. Census Department posts a special MFG Day web page chock full of statistics and data products as well historical facts about manufacturing. As a presidential proclamation on MFG Day 2021 notes, manufacturing is essential to the American economy. It directly employs over 12 million Americans and even more indirectly. That means one out of every 12 workers in the U.S. is employed in manufacturing.
Alas, 578,000 manufacturing jobs were lost during 2020 as a result of slowdown caused by the pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the manufacturing industry had close to 900,000 open job as of last July. As manufacturers seek to fill four million high-skill, high-tech and high-paying jobs over the next decade, MFG Day is an opportunity to showcase the people and the companies making a difference to our economy, to our communities, and to our future. And to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.
STEM Careers Coalition
Just one example of this inspiration is the STEM Careers Coalition—the first-of-its-kind national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative powered by corporate leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education, the leading worldwide digital learning platform accessible to over 140 countries and territories. Representing a range of industry sectors, the STEM Careers Coalition seeks to prepare 10 million students, with a particular emphasis on gender and racial equality, for the future of work by 2025 through equitable access to digital content and experiences that engage students in instruction, build foundational STEM knowledge, and develop the critical skills students need for college and career success. The complete list of STEM Careers Coalition partners is here.
In addition to the Coalition’s national work, members also engage in regional approaches to workforce development and support students’ explorations in STEM. The STEM Careers Coalition partners with districts nationwide to provide critical academic and career content available through the award-winning, flexible K-12 learning platform and STEM Connect, an interdisciplinary K-8 resource blending dynamic digital content with ready-to-use lessons and hands-on activities that enhance core curriculum.
“Connecting students to success means meeting them where they are. There is incredible untapped potential all over the country that just needs a bit of nurturing to flourish. STEM can be the tool to do so,” said Marla Wilson, Executive Director of the STEM Careers Coalition. “Alongside our partners, we are proud to again present high-quality and standards-aligned no-cost resources focused on the wide-world of manufacturing to educators, students, and families.”
Closing the Labor Shortage Gap
Promoting that awareness is essential to close the projected labor shortage in manufacturing.
If the trend continues, this deficit could grow to 2.1 million by 2030, according to a recent study by MI and Deloitte. As a recent MI press release points out, “It’s never been more urgent to get people interested in rewarding, lifelong manufacturing careers—for their own sake and the country’s.”
Indeed, the Workforce Institute of UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group, formerly known as Kronos Incorporated), reported in Close the Talent Gap: Pre-Pandemic Insights Inform Future Workforce Strategies in Manufacturing that even prior to the pandemic, some 62 percent of decision makers surveyed reported difficulty recruiting skilled talent. Furthermore, two in five manufacturers were experiencing higher-than-average turnover (44 percent) along with a notable spike in retirements (40 percent). In addition, surveyed manufacturers reported the extra financial burden of having to pay overtime to compensate for vacant positions (39 percent).
Open Doors to Manufacturing
As MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee points out, “MFG Day provides manufacturers from coast to coast the opportunity to open their doors and highlight the work of the people who make things in America, which will help us recruit skilled talent and reach next-generation manufacturing employees.”
In touching upon these and many other MFG Day events taking place this month, Industry Today continues our ongoing commitment to inform our readers about the latest developments in modern manufacturing relevant to their needs and interests.