It’s widely recognized that one of the reasons American manufacturing has made a comeback—and one of the main ways to ensure it will continue—is through innovation. An industry that is constantly growing, looking to the future, and making concrete progress is one that will succeed.
Yet numbers also show that the country’s manufacturing industry is finding it harder and harder to fill positions with skilled workers. At the same time, American students are falling behind their foreign peers in certain areas, particularly math and science. So it stands to reason that a generation of kids less versed in technical skills cannot help a future workforce that needs these same skills. By the same token, it makes sense that by properly educating kids in STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—we can help build a generation of people qualified for good manufacturing careers; this could be a win/win for both the kids and the industry.
This is why initiatives throughout the country are working to ensure just that happens. From the federal government’s Educate to Innovate program—a public-private program dedicated to advancing STEM education—to programs throughout the country sponsored by local and state governments, people around the country have gotten behind the movement. Another example is the STEM Education Coalition, which works to “to raise awareness in Congress, the Administration, and other organizations about the critical role that STEM education plays in enabling the U.S. to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century.”
Personally, we believe in the importance of STEM skills for our country and our industry. At UPC, we regularly train our employees—and send them for outside training—to further their knowledge of the industry and their individual roles. We take their skills and expertise seriously. We seek to hire those who have great knowledge and experience, while also hiring employees with true potential, allowing them to work their way up through the company. We place importance on their learning while on the job, while encouraging potential and future manufacturing workers to learn, in advance, what it takes to have a successful, rewarding career in the industry.
American manufacturing is poised to become better than ever—and with the right education, our children and grandchildren will reap the benefits.