SME is passionate about providing knowledge to the manufacturing workforce — present and future. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to advancing manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skill needs for industry.
Why is workforce development important?
There are a myriad of factors that influence children as they grow into adulthood, but education is universally recognized to be a major factor that can open doors to future success in the workforce. With nearly 75 million baby boomers set for retirement, now, more than ever, technically skilled workers are in high demand.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, in the 21st century, manufacturing employment as a share of the total workforce is going to decline by 10.6 percent (or 1.5 million jobs), mainly in repetitive manufacturing jobs. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, employment in advanced manufacturing, however, has risen by 37 percent. For example, employment in pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing is expected to grow by 23.8 percent and add 69,000 new jobs by 2016. The aerospace and defense industry has a backlog of production that extends to 2030, requiring continuous upkeep of their workforce. Transportation will continue to grow and change, requiring a workforce that is flexible, knowledgeable and focused on their deliverables. According to a 2011 Skills Gap Report, more than 83 percent of U.S. manufacturers report an overall shortage of qualified employees. This can be changed by educating young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), providing them with information about the manufacturing world, and allowing them to experience beneficial opportunities. In addition, the current workforce needs to be able to transition into high-skill, high-wage, high-demand positions.
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