Manufacturers – Today’s Our Day
Jim King 10.04.2013
We should all be proud to be associated with manufacturing. Throughout history, and most recently during the great recession of 2009, manufacturing has led our country’s recoveries. Time and time again, our industry demonstrates resiliency, strong will, and creativity. We’re consistent in performing above and beyond in the face of adversity.
Today we celebrate Manufacturing Day, which is dedicated to overcoming shared challenges and heightening awareness of the opportunities in our industry. In particular, this event focuses on tackling the widening skills gap in our industry. According to the co-producers of Manufacturing Day, “600,000 manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled in the United States due to a gap between the job requirements and the skills of those applying for them.”
Negative perception of “factory jobs” is one of our biggest enemies, and couldn’t be further from the truth. Today’s manufacturing jobs are in fact “high-tech jobs” and bring all the hands-on excitement, problem-solving challenges, and rewards of innovation that can be found in more publicly accepted career paths such as IT, software, and even medical fields. I’ve seen firsthand the full-on enthusiasm and engagement of students in the programs that Okuma sponsors at York Technical College’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Through this center, students have the opportunity to train on the latest CNC machine tool technology available and position themselves for a highly rewarding career.
Reshoring to America is becoming a reality due to our productive workforce, ingenuity, and personal commitment to quality in manufacturing. We see more companies looking back to our shores to reestablish manufacturing in our country. The Reshoring Initiative states “With roughly 50,000 manufacturing jobs reshored since January 2010, this win reveals solidarity between U.S. small manufacturers, manufacturing employees, machine tool makers and distributors, trade and policy associations, labor, progressive and fair trade groups, and Made in USA companies in support of reshoring.” It is incumbent on us to keep that solidarity going.
Yet once again our Federal Government is trying to provide more adversity for manufacturing (as if the everyday challenges of being in this industry weren’t enough). It is again time for manufacturing to rise above this adversity and continue to be a catalyst in leading our great industry and country.
Celebrate manufacturing. Be proud of your contributions to our industry. Let’s continue as a united front for progress.
Jim King is President & COO, Okuma America Corporation.