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Have you ever stood on a beach at the edge of the water and felt the grains of sand dissolve from under your feet as the water recedes? No matter how hard you plant your feet or grip your toes, you can’t hold on to the sand. It just flows away right from under you. In many ways that sand is like the knowledge and experience of our graying manufacturing workforce. It seems inevitable that much of that knowledge is being washed away.
Many vets have the skills, but no place to apply them.
At the present time, technology seems to be moving faster than our ability to educate people in its utilization. this is particularly true of the manufacturing engineering profession.
If you've been following this space with any regularity, you know that grassroots efforts among industry and academia are springing up around the country to help win the hearts, minds and talents of young people in nudging them towards a career in manufacturing. Add another partnership to the list.
But associations and grassroots organizations lack public awareness.
This issue's editorial is a reprint of the keynote address given by Michael Goldstein at the Computer Aided Gear Design Seminar held at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA on November 9, 1987.
Following is a report from The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). Founded in 1933, the alliance contributes to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing by providing economic research, professional development, and an independent, expert source of manufacturing information.
Faithful Addendum readers are accustomed to finding upbeat, whimsical and oddball stories about gears in this space. What follows is not about gears, exactly. Rather, it is, as opposed to the usual bleak news about America losing its manufacturing mojo—a look at a positive, hopeful development in that regard.
For years, politicians, educators and business leaders have generated various ideas to revitalize U.S. manufacturing and engineering. These include manufacturing initiatives, internal training programs and an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the classroom. The declining expertise in these fields, however, continues to be a growing problem in every facet of manufacturing and engineering.
This past fall, I had the opportunity to travel to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore to witness first-hand the status of the power transmission and machine tool industries in these areas. Points of interest included equipment, material handling, computerization, wage and tax structures, inventory controls, and workforce attitude.
How is it that we woke up one day in the early 1980s to find that apparently American industry was suddenly inefficient, our workforce unproductive and our management inept? Almost overnight industry found its sales dropping dramatically, while for many companies foreign competition became excruciatingly intense. This sudden change in the economic climate proved fatal for many companies and has been nearly as hard on our collective morale. In a country used to winning, we began to hear ourselves talked of as losers.
When you graduated from school and made your way into the world, you probably thought you’d learned everything you needed to know to be successful. But those of us who’ve been out in the workforce for some time know that you never stop learning.
Never have so few served so many. That, in essence, describes gear makers and the role they play in our world. Think of it—although the gear cutting industry represents much less than one percent of the global workforce—the gears it produces are what make things run in practically every industry and profession imaginable. From bulldozers to Rolexes, gears are an integral part of the mix.
News Items About workforce
1 Bison Gear Institutes Skilled Workforce Initiative (May 24, 2007)
Bison Gear & Engineering is collaborating with other manufacturing, governmental and educational institutions to remedy the shortage of q... Read News