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The US Must Lead the Way in Advanced Manufacturing Talent

March 6, 2024
Tapping into workforce resources at the national level can advance the skills of the labor force locally.

As U.S. manufacturing continues to recover from the challenges ushered in by the pandemic, the industry currently is facing a workforce shortage. According to a 2021 study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2030. This statistic raises the critical question of how to fill these roles with qualified personnel tailored to the needs of industry.

Technology continues to evolve and change, opening up career possibilities in the fields of additive manufacturing, robotics, automation and AI, all emerging and disruptive. Not only will these roles require candidates who are properly trained in critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and innovation—but they will change some of the landscape of current roles in the sector. 

To generate a manufacturing resurgence in the U.S., we must tackle this workforce need with a multifaceted approach that includes building awareness—among both youth and adults—of pathways to entering the industry. On the technical side, it is imperative that the candidates are equipped with enhanced skills, particularly for the benefit of small- and mid-sized companies that make up the majority of manufacturing in our nation (and must do more with less). 

How Can We Create, Build and Grow a Workforce to Support the Demand?

Key to meeting this demand is large-scale, public-private collaboration, or “national strategy driving local impact.” The need for talent, although a national imperative, is felt mostly on the local level. Local leaders and manufacturers must actively engage in discussions that address specific talent-pool needs and foster inclusivity for all members of their communities. Talent shortages and mismatches of knowledge, skills and abilities can be solved when local teams leverage the nation’s best practices and strategies, including outreach, onboarding programs and training for reskilling and upskilling. 

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