Poll: We've Got Work to Do

The results are in, and they’re not good. According to a survey commissioned by Kennametal (an IMTS exhibitor), only 9 percent of the 1,000 Americans surveyed felt that manufacturing was a “bright spot” on the U.S. economy.

But well known to those in the industry, manufacturing has actually been leading the recovery, in terms of both revenue and job creation.

This speaks to an unfortunate truth that our industry continues to face. Despite advances in mind-blowing technology, despite the good-paying and highly skilled jobs available throughout the industry, despite work to reach out to youth and encouraging them to consider a manufacturing career … a sullied image still pervades American sentiment. According to the survey, 71 percent of respondents would not recommend a career in manufacturing to young people.

So what can we do to change these perceptions? Clearly a walk through the show floor at IMTS would change a lot of minds, but we need to create a larger window of opportunity to truly work on improving the industry’s image. Polls like this show that no matter how far we think we’ve come, we’ve still got a long way to go.

If you could do one thing — anything — to improve the perception of manufacturing, what would it be?

GenSwiss's Gravatar It's simple. Stop calling it the "Manufacturing Industry" and rephrase as "Metal Working Science". A re-branding of the industry is a positive step in the right direction.

"The IMTS is a key player in getting the word out of the latest technologies in metalworking science"
# Posted By GenSwiss | 1/11/12 12:04 PM
Tim Fara's Gravatar I would create a video of manufacturing and careers in manufacturing and make it available on YOU TUBE and send it to all US High Schools, Grade Schools, and Community Colleges to be shown in science classes and posted on their websites.
# Posted By Tim Fara | 1/13/12 2:54 PM
AJ Sweatt's Gravatar Tim, have you seen The Edge Factor? That's a pretty sweet idea that's doing just what you propose. As to the larger question, it's a hard thing - to rebrand and remind a generation of something that's not in their faces everyday like it once was. As (if?) we reclaim our industrial base and create more wealth from it, those with 'the gift' will gravitate toward it. As it stands now, that generation watched their parents dropped like hot potatoes (unlike their grandparents) and that's hard to overcome.

Also, a concerted effort to refocus education back toward industrial artisanship - via public, private and academic sectors - is paramount to feed the engine.
# Posted By AJ Sweatt | 1/13/12 3:09 PM
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