Additive Manufacturing

MAY 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 43

S M A RT FO R CE MAY 2018 Additive Manufacturing 20 The skills gap has presented quite the challenge in the manu- facturing industry's ability to hire enough qualified candidates to fill our open positions. For many job functions, recruiting has been especially challenging because we're in competition with many other industries for the same small pool of talent. A new study by Burning Glass and the U.S. Chamber of Com- merce Education Foundation's Center for Education & Workforce demonstrates that the job categories associated with the largest shortages include: healthcare (1,153,617 openings); business and financial operations (985,214); office and administrative (461,263); sales (388,857); and computers and mathematics (356,527). For comparison, the skills gap in manufacturing has been running at a rate of about 300,000 to 340,000 over the past year or so. You can also make a case that manufacturing is also competing for talent in some of those categories listed above. In addition to the imbalance of demand and supply in engineering jobs, the study noted a significant swing in the installation, maintenance and repair job function (field service technicians). Since 2012, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics report a 14 percent surplus of field service techs, there's now a 2 percent gap in the available talent to the number of open positions, a 16 percent swing in just five to six years brought on by retiring baby boomers, but most significantly, by a lack of qualified talent in the education-to-work pipeline. The Burning Glass report suggests three solutions to the skills gap, the same as we've espoused in AMT's Smartforce Development as well: 1. Improve alignment between education and workforce systems; 2. Expand leadership roles for local employers in education and workforce systems; and 3. Improve employer signaling for its workforce needs, par- ticularly around changing competencies and credentialing requirements for the fastest-growing and hardest-to-fill jobs. While Amazon is searching for its secondary headquarters city, the company is also building warehousing and logistics centers in cities all over the country. Amazon has become an expert at the three solution steps that I've listed above. We fre- quently talk to community college leaders and economic and workforce development professionals who are being bombard- ed by Amazon executives to start up or ramp up the logistics and supply chain programs at their schools. The attention that Amazon is getting makes it even more critically important that we re-double our efforts. It is not inexpensive for schools to invest in programs to develop more talent in machining, welding and mechatronics that serve the manufacturing industry. They need to see a demonstrated need for those types of programs. We also need to continue to change perceptions about ca- reers in manufacturing. A great opportunity for that is coming at the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2018. I encourage all AMT members to work with the schools in their local area, especially if you're located within an eight-hour drive of Chica- go, to take their teachers and students to the summit. We will continue to change perceptions about careers in manufacturing. By working in our local communities, we can continue to change the skills gap in favor of manufacturing again too. For more information, have the schools in your area visit For more frequent updates on Smartforce Development or the Smartforce Student Summit, follow me on Twitter @GregoryAJones. It's a Jungle Out There By Gregory Jones Vice President – Smartforce Development AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Additive Manufacturing - MAY 2018