The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently released two videos that expose and challenge perceptions about manufacturing in America today. The key takeaways? Manufacturing offers so much opportunity for those seeking a rewarding and fulfilling career. On the flipside, many people, especially young millennials, have at best an under appreciation for this opportunity, and at worst, an antiquated perception of what manufacturing is and does.
Videos Demonstrate the Perception Gap
Check out this first NAM video, where a simple question is posed to manufacturing insiders, “What does manufacturing mean to you?” We see a variety of inspiring responses on themes like job creation, providing for family, security, making valuable products, and “my future.” In total, the American Dream.
In the next video we see the great perception gap, where NAM takes a look at Millennials’ Thoughts on Manufacturing. When asked “What is Manufacturing” we see a lot of puzzled looks and ums and ahs. Those who do answer provide a very dated view on the subject. Then we see the illuminating facts:
- Manufacturing supports 17.4 million jobs in the U.S.
- In 2012 manufacturers contributed $2.03 trillion to the economy
- The average manufacturing worker in the U.S. earns $77,505 annually, including pay and benefits
The New “IT” Career
Carlos Cardoso, Chairman, President and CEO of Kennametal (a member of Partners in THINC), shares some very interesting insights about the future of manufacturing in his article Manufacturing is the New “IT” Career, recently published in Manufacturing Engineering magazine. He states:
“It’s time people know the truth: Not only are there jobs; there are high-tech, high-paying, safe, appealing jobs in industry that provide an entry ticket to lifelong careers and paid education after high school!”
“We can forever change the picture of manufacturing in America for the better, if we are willing to rebrand ourselves and open our doors to young people, parents and faculty…if we know “manufacturing” is a dirty word to the majority of Americans, why not consider a new name that defines today’s reality? A better label is industrial technology. Positioned as the “new IT”, industrial technology is digitally-driven, smart production. It is the future of America, ripe with opportunities for a new generation of digital-savvy talent.“