Efficient Plant December 2017 - 14

feature | industry views

Gary L. Parr
Editorial Director

Filling the
Skills Gap

Leading companies across the country are working at all levels to
develop skilled workers who can meet current and future needs.

ANYONE WHO IS in need of skilled workers can tell you that
the skills gap is very real and the chances of it getting "filled" in
the next handful of years are slim. Research supports real-world
experience. According to the most recent report, "The Skills Gap
in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond," from Deloitte Development LLC (deloitte.com, Oakland, CA) and the Manufacturing
Institute (themanufacturinginstitute.org, Washington):
 In the next decade, nearly 3.5-million manufacturing jobs will be
available and, as a result of the skills gap, 2 million will go unfilled.
 In addition to baby-boomer retirements and economic expansion, other factors contribute to the shortage of skilled workforce,
including loss of embedded knowledge due to movement of experienced workers, a negative image of the manufacturing industry
among younger generations, lack of STEM (science, technology,
engineering and mathematics) skills among workers, and a gradual

decline of technical-education programs in public high schools.
 Some 82% of executive respondents to the survey indicate they
believe the skills gap will have an impact on their ability to meet
customer demand.
 In addition, 78% of those respondents believe the skills gap will
have a negative impact on their ability to implement new technologies and increase productivity.
The numbers go on and on, adding additional details to the
same picture. After you digest the reality, the inevitable question
arises: "What's being done to correct the problem?" This month,
to get a sense of what leading manufacturers are doing, we asked
the question: "What role is your company playing in the effort to
fill the skills gap by developing skilled workers and/or supporting
STEM programs?" The answers suggest that considerable recources are being invested at all levels to build a future workforce.

Pre-K to Post-Doc
Greg Scheu, president, Americas Region, ABB, Cary, NC, new.abb.com/us
ABB has developed a "pre-K to postdoc" strategy to support STEM education at all levels. We've supported STEM
programs in middle schools, provided robotics and other technology to technical colleges,
and funded undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships at
leading research universities. We also are the sole sponsor behind
"Kid Grid," an interactive play exhibit at Marbles Kids Museum in
Raleigh, NC, that teaches children where energy comes from and
how the power grid works.
ABB also invests in workforce training within our own operations. Often in our manufacturing facilities, the management

14

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

team includes people who joined the company working on the
shop floor. They trained on different types of equipment, gained
experience in a variety of roles and, in many cases, earned their
bachelor's and/or master's degree(s) through our tuition-reimbursement program. This is all by design. It pays great dividends to the
individuals, but also to the company, especially as the competition
for top talent continues to increase.
Currently, we're developing a more robust program for worker
training-and re-training-that's focused specifically on advanced
manufacturing to prepare our existing and future workforce for
Industry 4.0. I expect that a strong focus on STEM education and
training will remain a key part of our success going forward.

DECEMBER 2017


http://www.deloitte.com http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org http://new.abb.com/us http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant December 2017

Efficient Plant December 2017 - 1
Efficient Plant December 2017 - Cover1
Efficient Plant December 2017 - Cover2
Efficient Plant December 2017 - 1
Efficient Plant December 2017 - 2
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