Christine Furstoss of General Electric’s Global Research Center called
for integrating more small and medium-sized manufacturers into industry
supply chains since a manufacturing revival “will require a new kind of
ecosystem.” A greater focus in new approaches like “additive
manufacturing” using thin-film deposition, for example, will help in
scaling up a new manufacturing ecosystem, Furstoss said.
we’re very sequential” in how products are manufactured,” she added. “We
need to change that paradigm to make it a non-sequential process.”
corporate executives here like Boeing Research and Technology’s Matthew
Ganz acknowledged that the aircraft maker has been “hindered” by
separating its design and manufacturing operations. Boeing is now in the
process of reuniting design and manufacturing while promoting younger
engineers with strong design skills. “We grab them by the arm and pull
them up the [organizational] chart,” Ganz stressed.
The other part of the manufacturing equation is
educating a new generation of skilled workers capable of driving a
design-oriented manufacturing sector. An “all-hands-on-deck” approach
that links companies, trade unions and community colleges is seen as one
of the best approaches to reinvigorating the sector, corporate
executives and educators agreed.
Community colleges “have been
excellent partners and a critical cog” in training the next generation
of manufacturing workers, said Carrie Houtman, public policy manager at
Dow Chemical Co. Dow CEO Andrew Liveris along with MIT President Susan
Hockfield head an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership unveiled by the
White House last June.
A new approach to training manufacturing
workers called “stackable credentials” is being pioneered by
California’s community college system. Van Ton-Quinlivan, the system’s
vice chancellor for workforce development, described the approach as
earning course certificates that can be “stacked” in order meet
manufacturer’s requirements for new employees. Each stack represents an
For example, Ton-Quinlivan explained, an
engineering student hoping to work in the energy technology market could
gain both pre- and post-sales certificates, allowing the newly minted
engineer to implement an energy program that a company has just sold.
The modular education and training program is designed to provide
students with the skills employers want now, while allowing students to
“stack” other courses that would lead to undergraduate or graduate
The California official also put the onus on
manufacturers to play a more active role in training future workers. She
said community colleges are motivated to deliver the skills companies
need, but companies must be more specific about what required and
desired skills they are seeking in new employees.
widespread complaints here about regulatory red tape and the lack of tax
incentives needed to promote manufacturing, the former chairman of
the House Science Committee said the revival of U.S. manufacturing
ultimately comes down to training more skilled workers. “You can have
all the tax and regulatory reform you want,” Bart Gordon told an
audience of technology company executives, “but you still have to have a
skilled workforce” to compete in global markets.
Here’s a question. What did employers and employees do back in the 1900’s when electricity was being introduced? I sure there was a huge skill shortage back then since it was newly invented with no similar technologies to draw compatible skills and how did they deal with it? The same thing is probably true with Steam engines (1800’s), automobile (1900’s), telephones (1890’s), televisions (1930’s), commercial mainframe computers (1950’s), and many others. So how come all of a sudden people do not have skills?
For those of you following this thread, I highly recommend this analysis of U.S. manufacturing productivity statistics. It is an article of faith among most economists that manufacturing efficiencies over the last two decades have contributed to steadily growing U.S. manufacturing output. But now some experts are challenging that view, saying computer and electronics manufacturing inflated that overall numbers and that U.S. manufacturing statistics fail to take globalization, e.g., the offshoring of manufacturing, into account.
The link below will take you to this excellent analysis:
Really? I see two people who were given voice: a smarting "Cleantech" Market Researcher and a DOE Program Manager. So who were the "Corporate Executives" that were there?
As for the "idealsitic platitudes" I'd say the entire 7th and 8th paragraphs.
If you are older, established, and have a lot of baggage to move, and many posted jobs state "no relocation available", and you have already relocated twice and both times resulted in layoffs, you tend to be a bit more careful these days about relocating.
Here's a training update from the Nation's Capital. Not much manufacturing in DC, but the more training, the better:
George, idealistic platitudes are nice to ponder over beer but if "Most" argued this: "that labor costs and energy usage aren’t the key barriers" then I am more interested in what the "some" had to say. That is since they are probably the only non-bureaucrats in the room. You know...makers, the productive, people who actually pay the bills and balance the books, etc.. Will a report on their opinions be forthcoming from our friends at EE Times?
one point i noted is using automation can bring back the manufacturing from china. A lot of research and development in the area of robots which are more efficient than human can do it.Based on the population ratio of China to USA this can be achieved.1 US employee if he could complete the work of 20 China employees using automation can be paid 10 times salary of China and rest 10 times can be expended on the robot. This will create more jobs in USA.
I hope these seminars will help US to revive the manufacturing. But I'm not really sure how this is going to help. Government should encourage more and more manufacturing with tax incentives for the companies.
Our advantage over China rests with out unmatched design capability, as the commentators at the Energy Department conference repeatedly pointed out. This capability must be integral to the (re)training of American workers so that we can build up flexible, regional manufacturing clusters that can leverage American know-how and superior productivity.