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Taking Manufacturing To School

Fri, 04/19/2013 - 8:05am
Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing

As manufacturing processes become more automated, it is essential for companies to invest in partnerships with local technical schools to maintain a qualified, knowledgeable workforce.

In June 2011, President Obama launched a national effort to revitalize American manufacturing. This private-sector-led initiative, known as the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), was designed to “bring together industry, universities and the federal government to chart a course for investing and furthering the development of emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance U.S. global competitiveness.”

An AMP Steering Committee was appointed, and in July 2012, the Committee issued a report with 16 recommendations to help AMP attain its mission. The report included five “workstreams,” or focus areas, each of which the Committee assessed and then made recommendations for improvement. These worksteams included:

  • Technology Development
  • Shared Infrastructure and Facilities
  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Policy
  • Outreach

Of these workstreams, Education and Workforce Development could be one of the most important to maintaining and improving the U.S. manufacturing industry. One of today’s top concerns in the industry is the “skills gap.” With an aging workforce — and an increasing level of automated equipment — manufacturers are facing a shortage of workers with the technological skills needed to operate advanced machinery.

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