Manufacturing is not exempt from the negative economic impact of a recession. In fact, historical data reveals that manufacturing has borne the brunt of the financial damage in most U.S. recessions including the recent one caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A study by Deloitte shows that between 2007 and 2009, the industrial manufacturing sector GDP declined by 10%, as compared to the overall GDP loss of 4%. Similarly, industrial manufacturing corporate profits decreased by 53% while overall corporate profitability fell by only 14% throughout the Great Recession.
However, the same Deloitte study also shows that effectively recruiting technology talent is the key to future manufacturing advances. As a result, to successfully emerge from the Covid recession, the manufacturing sector needs to commit to rapidly staffing quality engineering, scientific, research and development (R&D), information technology (IT) and technical candidates to facilitate innovation. Unfortunately, most employers are not prepared for such recruitment challenges.
Cutting edge technology companies like Apple, Tesla and Amazon continue to offer a certain degree of sex appeal and gravitas that appeals to job seekers and facilitates their candidate recruitment. Unfortunately, manufacturing is often considered the “ugly stepsister” of the job market. To overcome this, manufacturing firms must develop and capitalize on talent pipelines of qualified candidates in a time-sensitive manner to avoid attrition of their more desirable job roles by energizing their interviewing and hiring process.
One way to do so is developing a stronger Public and Private sector alliance geared towards minting more viable talent for the field. Better STEM programs are the key!
STEM Education Improvements Needed To Boost Manufacturing
As the manufacturing field adopts more technology such as 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), internet of things (IoT) and Additive Manufacturing, more STEM candidates need to be produced. This includes engineers, scientists, research and development (R&D), information technology (IT) and technical gurus to drive manufacturing breakthroughs.
Unfortunately, most of our STEM education has been slipping in recent decades. However, Seaborn Elementary School in Mineral Ridge, Ohio may provide a paradigm of improved STEM programs.
Seaborn’s recent Summer Manufacturing Camp was a weeklong program introducing young people to how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – or STEM – education plays a role in manufacturing.
Their project for the week is to build a digital clock, said Ralf Urbach, director of education at Oh Wow! “They’re learning about microelectronics,” he said. “Today, they’re using a soldering iron to detach some of the capacitors, resistors and transistors.”
Representatives from Youngstown State University and area companies such as Ultium Cells visited the camp to speak with the students during the week, Urbach said.
“These young ladies over a five-day period will learn all of the ins and outs of what microelectronics will and can be, the jobs they can have or what may interest them moving forward.”
Introducing STEM education to young people at an early age is vital to the manufacturing health of the country, said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who paid a visit to Oh Wow to talk with the students.
Brown said he is no fan of the term “Rust Belt” to describe postindustrial communities such as the Mahoning Valley. “I’m offended by it,” he said.
Instead, the senator prefers emphasizing the innovative strides the region has made through advanced manufacturing and educational programs tied to STEM disciplines.
The senator said programs such as the Summer Manufacturing Camp –an effort spearheaded by Oh Wow, the YWCA, and corporate partners – help inspire young people to get involved in manufacturing. Youngstown was the first in Ohio to develop these summer camps in 2013, and the program has since become a model for the rest of the state.
“We’ve now had more than 100 of these across the state, Youngstown’s the first,” he said. “I think we’ve had 25 counties to do this and we’re going to continue to build, build, build.”
Early exposure to STEM education and manufacturing helps to lead students into fields that are indispensable to American manufacturing and global competitiveness, Brown added.
Strategic Search Can Assist With Your Recruiting Needs
To learn more about how Strategic Search Corporation can better assist your recruitment needs click here for my full contact information or call me today at 312-944-4000. Then we can discuss how to improve recruitment of key talent. This is especially true in highly competitive fields of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) as well as Virtual (and Augmented) Reality.