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Wanted: Two Million Manufacturing Workers by 2018

Posted By Jeff Moad, September 15, 2011 at 1:22 PM, in Category: Next-Generation Leadership and the Changing Workforce

No doubt about it. Manufacturing employment has been hit hard the past few years, undermined by factors such as outsourcing and the recession. In the Midwest area of the US alone, 610,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2007. That's nearly a third of the manufacturing jobs lost nationally during the recession.

But some of those losses could be offset over the next few years, thanks in large part to the expected wave of baby boomer retirement. A new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that 2 million manufacturing job openings will be available through 2012.

Granted, these aren't new jobs. They are existing jobs that manufacturing employers will be looking to fill.

And manufacturers won't be looking for new hires with the same skills as outgoing workers. The study predicts that, by 2018, up to 70% of those jobs will be filled by individuals with post-secondary educations.

Are colleges and universities prepared to meet employer demand for 2 million highly-educated new manufacturing workers by 2018? What should educators and employers be doing now to prepare for the demand?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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