Exploring the Manufacturing Public Perception Gap: A Study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte

Michael Reader

Jointly, The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte have recently published a study entitled “The 5th U.S. Public Opinion of Manufacturing,” addressing public perception.

Americans, according to the study, “remain steadfast in their support of manufacturing.” Disconcerting, however, is the fact that there is a gap in the interest shown by Americans to pursue long-term careers in manufacturing.

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According to the study, 90% of Americans think manufacturing is “very important to economic prosperity,” yet only half of all Americans think that manufacturing jobs can be interesting and rewarding.  U.S. investment in the manufacturing industry is supported by an overwhelming 82% of Americans, yet only 33% of parents would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.

Lack of information appears to be a direct influencer on general perception, as the study also shows that those who better understand the possibilities in advanced manufacturing, are more likely to favorably change their perception.

Download a copy of the infographic here, or directly from The Manufacturing Institute.


Michael Reader

Call it a conundrum of sorts…in a down economy, when jobs are scarce while unemployment soars, the manufacturing sector struggles to find qualified candidates to fill available jobs.

Some refer to this void as the “perfect storm:” manufacturing being outsourced abroad, Baby Boomers in manufacturing approaching retirement age, and Gen-Exers and Milleniums pursuing broader-ranged careers.

In October of 2011, and in response to the lack of available talent to fill manufacturing positions, The Manufacturing Institute launched a fast-track education and training program called “RIGHT SKILLS NOW.”  Based on the National Association of Manufacturers’ Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, the program is designed to provide accelerated, intense training and education to  potential workers, who upon completion of the 16 to 22-week program are able to meet the demands expected in precision machining jobs in manufacturing.

RIGHT SKILLS NOW is a grass root movement backed by some formidable partners:  The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, The Manufacturing Institute, ACT, Inc.,  and The National Institute for Metalworking Skills.  The scope of the program involves aspects from professionalism in the workplace, integrity, communication, problem solving, and CNC milling and turning.

Several schools around the U.S., including Minnesota and Nevada, have already set up and implemented curricula for  “RIGHT SKILLS NOW” programs.  The first graduates are expected to receive their certificates in mid 2012.

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