Specialty Fabrics Review — Help wanted: the next generation of manufacturing workers

CCC Maker is honored to be included in this article, Help wanted: the next generation of manufacturing workers, by Pamela Mills-Senn, published May 1, 2018 in Specialty Fabrics Review. The article discusses the skills gap and the need for students with maker skills. That is exactly what CCC Maker is producing – Community College student makers who are innovation-ready to apply their design, entrepreneurial, engineering, art and production skills to contribute to California economic growth. Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Statewide Project Director,  CCC Maker, is quoted.

“Makerspaces are perfect environments for extended learning and community building,” says Pepper-Kittredge. “Skills learned on the job accelerate job proficiency and competency, but the ability to learn by experimenting, failing or iterating might be reduced or eliminated because a product or service needs to be produced quickly and efficiently.”

Mills-Penn writes: The dearth of skilled labor is an increasingly common lament heard from manufacturers of all stripes. It’s not a sudden or inflated complaint. According to recent data provided by the Manufacturing Institute (the Institute, or MI), an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) based in Washington, D.C., 364,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled. The situation seems likely to worsen; a Deloitte LLP/MI Skills Gap study released in February 2015 projects that by 2025 there will be 3.5 million manufacturing jobs generated—with two million of those wanting for workers.

“This challenge is real and current,” says Carolyn Lee, executive director of the Institute. “In the latest NAM Manufacturers Outlook Survey released last December, the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce was the top business challenge, cited by 72.9 percent of the respondents.”

Manufacturers continually cite this as their biggest concern, Lee says. The survey also revealed that nearly 80 percent of those responding said they’re currently struggling to fill positions; a little more than 34 percent said the inability to find qualified workers has affected their ability to take on new business, resulting in lost revenue opportunities. Threatening to exacerbate the situation are the exiting baby boomers, many of whom are already retiring or plan to do so in the near future, making attracting the next generation of workers (millennials, or the oncoming “Generation Z”) essential for survival.

Read the rest of the article Help Wanted

The CCC Maker Statewide Project Director is quoted:

Carol Pepper-Kittredge, statewide project director for the California Community Colleges (CCC) Maker program, says it’s important to understand how the work arena is transforming; and consequently, what skills might be needed over the next several years. Pepper-Kittredge is with Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif., which serves as the fiscal agent and project manager for the statewide project, involving 24 CCC Maker colleges throughout California tasked with: nurturing and supporting a maker culture, welcoming nontraditional students, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, and creating employment opportunities and viable career pathways for participants.

“Automation and machine learning are changing the nature of work and redefining the types of skilled jobs that are emerging,” she explains. “An example is the use of smart textiles designed to monitor patient health or provide treatment. The workforce of the future must be tech-proficient and human-centered, social and analytical.”

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