Strong Manufacturing Communities Help Close the Skills Gap

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME on March 13, 2019

Strong Manufacturing Communities Help Close the Skills Gap

By now, we’ve all heard the daunting news: Nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled over the next decade. And because of the impending skills gap caused in large part by baby-boomer retirements and changing technology, 2 million of those jobs are likely to remain unfilled. What’s more, this shortage cannot quickly be remedied, as it takes an average of 70 days to recruit skilled production workers.*

Making the situation worse, most common business pains — everything from production errors to downtime — typically tie directly back to identifying, recruiting and training a strong workforce.

So what can we do? Successful manufacturers are finding that it takes a community to close the skills gap, build the next-generation workforce and strengthen the future of U.S. manufacturing. And at Tooling U-SME, we’re taking serious steps with educators and employers to build that community.

As part of our commitment to help educators and employers collaborate, we recently partnered with Polar3D in the 2018-19 General Electric Additive Education Program in support of our SME Education Foundation PRIME Schools.

Geared toward primary and secondary schools, the GE Additive Education Program introduces students to additive manufacturing by allowing them to learn and train with equipment that is powering the future of manufacturing — in this case, a Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D printer.

Students at 25 SME PRIME high schools across the nation were among students around the world who were selected to participate in the General Electric Additive Education Program’s introduction to additive manufacturing.

Students gained access to software, curriculum and collaboration tools through the Polar Cloud, which is a community of students, educators and entrepreneurs who work together via a secure online platform. This innovative collaboration connects leading 3D printing machines to bring design, project-based learning and the art of "making" to every classroom and showroom in the world.

As part of the program, SME PRIME schools featured additive manufacturing educational content and certification opportunities from Tooling U-SME.

All in all, it’s a win-win situation for manufacturing students, educators and employers. And it’s just one example of how the SME Education Foundation and Tooling U-SME work together as a community to close the skills gap and strengthen the future of manufacturing.

Learn more about the General Electric Additive Education Program and direct your local primary, and secondary schools to apply for the 2019-2020 program.

*The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing: 2015 and Beyond, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, 2015

Interested in community-based manufacturing training initiatives? Read more:

Job Seekers and Employers Benefit From Community Training Programs

Community Partnerships Address Skills Gap

Tags: "additive manufacturing education", "General Electric Additive Education Program", manufacturing, "Polar 3D", "Polar Cloud", "skills gap", "SME Education Foundation", "SME PRIME", "Tooling U-SME"