Manufacturing Jobs Are Big Part Of The Future Of Work

Manufacturing Day is held on the first Friday of October. Organized by the National Association of Manufacturers, the nationwide event seeks to increase awareness among students, parents, educators and the general public about modern manufacturing and to make it clear that there are many career opportunities, in addition to pointing out that manufacturing has changed dramatically — it is cleaner, with advanced technology, and far more hip than its smokestack past. 

Most states do as the name suggests — have a one day event filled with factory tours and event presentations. But in New Mexico, they run Manufacturing Day for the entire month. 

The New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) organizes and sponsors events and a 3-Day Advanced Manufacturing Summit (that link takes you to each day’s virtual presentations on YouTube).

Mel Cossette, Executive Director and Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education funded Online Instructional Resources for Material Science Technology Education (home of MatEdU News) housed at Edmonds College in Lynnwood, WA, presented on Workforce Development. She is also the Co-PI on a newly funded NSF ATE Micro Nano Technology Education Center and Co-PI on the MANEUVER Project with Purdue Northwest. Mel has 20+ years of experience in manufacturing education focusing on technician education and workforce development. 

Ms. Cossette opened with the importance of embracing the future workforce, with all of its changes and opportunities. As you can see in the image above, people are searching for manufacturing jobs. She then went through a variety of manufacturing areas and how they all lead to growth in manufacturing as a career:

  • Additive Manufacturing (aka 3D Printing)
  • ASTM and technician training and core competencies (and how the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials — TEAMM was a big part of defining those new standards)
  • Manufacturing Workforce and new skills needed

She highlighted a variety of statistics to help attendees wrap their minds around just how big and vast the manufacturing job market is:

  • Preliminary numbers indicate there will be 942,000 manufacturing job openings – from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2021.
  • Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute (NAM) reported — 2.4 million manufacturing jobs may go unfilled by 2028.

“To be prepared, not only for today’s jobs but for those of a rapidly changing, highly automated future, technicians will need skills beyond those required by their specific role and industry,” she said. 

In summary, Ms. Cossette said that “we need to embrace the future of the manufacturing workforce… as the start of my presentation I heard this cool comment made by one of the manufacturing folks here. Powell has said, manufacturing is a cool career. I agree.”

PAC Maritime Receives Center of Excellence Designation

On May 19, 2021, the Pacific Northwest Maritime Education Alliance (PAC Maritime) was designated as Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD). MatEdU News would like to offer congratulations to our long-time partner and ally, NW Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing & Technology, and the PAC Maritime team, for this recognition and important work building up Washington and Oregon maritime workforces.

Northwest Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing and Technology

According to the MARAD news release: “The Maritime Administration is pleased to announce the designation of 27 Centers of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education (CoE). These CoEs include 19 community or technical colleges, 6 maritime training centers, and 2 groups of community or technical colleges and maritime training centers. The 27 CoE designees are in 36 cities in 16 states and 1 union territory.  CoE designees are committed to assisting the maritime industry in obtaining and maintaining a high quality and diverse workforce.” 

The Initiative is a collaboration of six community and technical colleges and the (NW) Center of Excellence and is a response to federal legislation signed into law December 12, 2017.  The college partners are:

  1. Skagit Valley College (lead institution)
  2. North Seattle College
  3. Seattle Central College
  4. South Seattle College
  5. Clark College
  6. Portland Community College

As MatEdU News readers know, materials are at the center of many industries (dare we say, all industries). Ann Avary’s work and commitment has led her to create and assist in materials education for the region. She has recently spearheaded several other initiatives that involves materials, in various ways:

Composites Washington 

Composites Washington was another alliance (similar to the CoE above) of community and technical colleges, formed to advance Washington’s leadership role in manufacturing, this time in the global composites industry. The consortiums’ efforts were focused on enhancing the competitiveness of Washington’s exceptional composites workforce by providing innovative, relevant education and training to faculty, students, and the incumbent workforce.  

Other industries, such as aviation, are keenly interested in those who have training in composites and an understanding of materials science. Here are a few from Edmonds College: 

Under the Washington Aerospace Training & Research (WATR) Center, there is a Composites Certificate. In the Engineering Technology program, there are two degrees with a Composites training built into the curriculum.

Nine additional Washington two-year schools were part of the Composites Washington initiative and have committed to materials education in their programs, they include: 

  1. Bellingham Technical College
  2. Clover Park Technical College
  3. Edmonds Community College 
  4. Everett Community College 
  5. Olympic College
  6. Peninsula College 
  7. Skagit Valley College
  8. South Seattle Community College 
  9. Spokane Community College 
  10. Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing 
  11. Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing and Technology 

The work of Composites Washington evolved into the formation of Materials Washington, recognizing the broad impact and scope of multiple material platforms utilized across industry sectors in Washington and nationally.

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Project 

A marine technology project the NW Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing & Technology is sponsoring includes the ROV Project via the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center based at Monterey Peninsula College in California. This project will provide an experiential platform for students from NW Career and Technical Academy in Anacortes.

The rationale for this proof-of-concept pilot is to provide access for high school students to a hands-on marine technology project, utilizing Pufferfish ROV kits from the MATE Center.  The project will incorporate hands-on learning, problem solving, data analysis, teamwork, and marine technology/STEM concepts.  It will also introduce an ROV pathway for students and instructors.

The NSF-funded MATE Center mission is to help prepare America’s future workforce for ocean-related occupations. The Center utilizes information from employers to improve and develop educational programs with a focus on marine technology.

Workforce Data Pilot

Most NSF-funded projects and initiatives are deeply interested and committed to delivering workforce success stories. The goal of most educational programs is to help students, veterans, and those considering a change in careers (returning adult students) find the job that is right for them. As part of that, ten Washington State Centers of Excellence are leading a workforce data project to study industry needs combined with education and training data. 

According to Ms. Avary, “The Workforce Data Pilot will identify, extract, format and deliver workforce and related data, using the Chmura JobsEQ RTI platform. This project will demonstrate the use and effectiveness of occupational, industry and other data to the workforce education and training system. Ten Centers of Excellence are participating in the pilot project and will fully engage in the development of the project rubric, collection of data, and the report of findings and recommendations at the end of the pilot.”

For those who want to learn more about the proprietary Chmura JobsEQ RTI workforce and economic management tools, visit this page. The company also offers several workforce- and education-specific blog posts and case studies aimed at secondary and postsecondary institutions. Here are a few: 

We will be keeping track of Ann Avary and her team’s success at these important projects and pilots and will report back with details from the various reports and summaries when they are completed.