Friday, September 6, 2013

Why Manufacturing Day Matters to Michigan


On Friday, October 4th, companies nationwide will join together and celebrate National Manufacturing Day! The holiday was established to raise awareness about manufacturing’s impact on the economy and change the perception of manufacturing careers for future generations.

With manufacturing back in the spotlight in our state and nation, it’s important that the business community and our legislative representatives (and of course the general public) understand how vital the manufacturing sector is to economic growth. 

An article from January 2013 titled, “Is Manufacturing Cool Again?” appeared in Project Syndicate. In it, the authors referenced the need for software programmers, engineers, designers, robotics experts, data analysis, and a myriad of other professional and service-type positions that will be required in the manufacturing renaissance going on today. It’s in part due to the wave of innovation in materials and manufacturing processes, aided by information technology.

In particular, manufacturers and academic institutions, among others, are encouraged to open their doors on National Manufacturing Day to students, educators, parents and the media so that the public can understand the processes of local manufacturers and the types of careers available in the field.

Why is this so important for Michigan’s manufacturers?
As some of you may have experienced, we are witnessing a skilled labor gap in the industry. Simply put, there are open positions in manufacturing, but not enough skilled workers to fill those jobs.

One clear driver is perception. Many younger professionals envision manufacturing as “old school” workers getting dirty on an assembly line. They don’t see the high-tech careers often associated with manufacturing today. They also don’t realize the wide-range of positions in manufacturing facilities such as sales, marketing, administration, accounting, etc.
Stats from an infographic by NIST MEP in partnership with the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International, best capture the story:

  • Only 30 percent of parents encourage their kids to join the field and only 17 percent of people view manufacturing as a top career choice.
  • However, manufacturing jobs pay well. 77k is the annual salary of manufacturing workers and manufacturing professionals have the highest level of job tenure in the private sector.
  • Now, 67 percent of U.S. manufacturers are experiencing a moderate to severe shortage of skilled workers and 56 percent of American manufacturers believe this issue will get worse.
  • Baby boomers, a group that currently makes up much of the manufacturing workforce, are expected to be out of the field by 2030. 
The result: 83 percent of manufacturers report that the lack of skilled workers is negatively impacting their business. We need to change this perception!

Events like National Manufacturing Day and Michigan’s own Proud to Manufacture in Michigan Conference raise awareness about these types of issues. We can come together and help cultivate the next generation of manufacturing leaders!

Useful Links:
·      Infographic
·      Share your Story

If you’re a manufacturer who is looking to become more efficient, productive and globally competitive, MMTC can help. Click here for a list of our services or contact us at 888-414-6682 or via email at

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at 

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