Studies show by 2030 the manufacturing skills gap in the United States could result in as many as 2.1 million unfilled jobs.
Between IMTS 2022 wrapping up and #ManufacturingMonth just around the corner, the conversation surrounding the future of manufacturing and inspiring the next generation’s involvement within the industry is more relevant than ever. Now is the time to educate students on the opportunities that exist within skilled and technical fields outside of the more traditional career paths students are encouraged to follow.
The emphasis on four-year college degrees, combined with the lack of resources and attractions available to students to create well-informed decisions about their futures, are just a few of the factors holding the next generation back from careers in manufacturing. This year at IMTS, a conscious collective effort was made to provide some of those opportunities for free to students.
There were 11,658 students in attendance at IMTS which is largely thanks to the Smartforce Student Summit. With events spanning the entire duration of IMTS, this free summit delivered industry-developed content to provide educators and students with engaging learning experiences centered around manufacturing. Students of all backgrounds and education levels had access to interactive exhibits demonstrating breakthrough technologies such as additive manufacturing, augmented and virtual reality, automation and robotics, digital twin, generative design, and more.
Early exposure to opportunities is the key to attracting and engaging the students of today. Providing youth with more ways to interact within the industry and explore their interests is crucial to shifting the decades-long emphasis on four-year degrees being the only suitable path. It’s important for students to know that there are so many more options at their disposal with the potential to yield the same level of success.
Manufacturing expos like IMTS provide valuable opportunities, free of charge, to students who may not have had the chance to explore alternate career paths otherwise. It’s incredibly important for both educators and manufacturers to provide the next generation with the tools necessary to make informed decisions about their futures. Facility tours, internships, expos and events, accessible resources, presentations, and more are all great ways to start providing students with the information they need to gain a well-rounded understanding of careers in manufacturing.
Manufacturing Day is on Friday, October 7th, and there are endless opportunities across the country to get involved. Visit mfgday.com to find an event in your area.