Manufacturing Industry Needs Education, Not Nostalgia

Invest in Human Capital Through Industrial Training

Economists are nostalgic for the Golden Age of American manufacturing. But times have changed – we must invest in human capital through industrial training to see new growth.

American economists can be as nostalgic as fans re-watching “The Bodyguard” or recalling dozens of New Year’s Eves with “the world’s oldest teenager.” Some of us are awash with a sense of loss for Whitney Houston and Dick Clark. Well, some economists can’t help but long for America’s manufacturing prime—that era from the 1950s to the 1970s when the economy was robust and inflation was a mere blip. Jobs sprouted like weeds, income levels were strapped to rocket ships and the words ‘Made in America’ meant something.

Unfortunately, economists touting a return to the golden age of American manufacturing are somewhat mistaken, but their wistfulness snagged the attention of yet another president.

President Obama continues efforts to jumpstart American manufacturing in hopes that factory jobs will start growing on trees. He’s made some impact, but not nearly enough. Finance professor and international trade expert Jeffrey Bergstrand says the manufacturing decline cannot be reversed. It can only be stabilized. To be frank, labor costs in the U.S. will never compete with Latin America and parts of Asia. Low-technology manufacturing will never be what it was. And high-tech goods manufacturing—like iPads and iPhones—requires education, technical knowledge, industrial safety training and beyond.

As Bergstrand points out, the industry doesn’t need investment and support, the factory workforce needs investment and support. We need to invest in human capital by educating workers with basic teaching like industrial safety training. Specific skills can be learned, sharpened, retained and passed on, but only with a program that starts with fundamentals. Unemployment doesn’t just cripple our economy; it cripples our workers by depreciating their skills over time. Manufacturing high-tech goods will create employment opportunity. But that changes nothing if our workers aren’t ready.

Complex products that require research, development and widespread industrial aptitude can offer vast job potential. But if our unemployed don’t have the education levels and skillsets to match, the opportunity fizzles. Better training means managers can meet plant safety considerations and satisfy customer demand because of increased output and improved processes. Giant manufacturers like Boeing and the stimulus-revived U.S. automakers wouldn’t be reporting such success (or creating jobs) without investing in both plant safety training and factory worker safety training.

Can factories replenish the 6 million jobs lost since 2000? Probably not. But as economic advisor Gene Sperling stated in his speech at the Conference on the Renaissance of American Manufacturing about President Obama’s industrial policy, investments in human capital and education are non-negotiable. The middleclass is stagnating along with American manufacturing, but nostalgia won’t conjure jobs or income growth.

It’s time to change the game. Start by arming the manufacturing industry with employees bursting with industrial training.


Harness Workforce Potential With Manufacturing Plant Training

The economy has a long way to go to full recovery, but the manufacturing industry is creating new jobs. Manufacturing training is an affordable way to harness a new workforce and make employees indispensible.

In the tech-driven world we find ourselves in, many jobs are rendered obsolete by the emergence of more efficient technology. But according to President Obama’s weekly address on MSNBC Jan. 19, manufacturers are hiring for the first time since the 1990s. Despite advanced equipment, manufacturing plants can be an abundant source of much-needed jobs. President Obama strongly advocates the need to invest in and support American manufacturing for both employment and trade purposes. Plants and factories can invest in their workforce through industrial safety training, a cost-efficient way to improve plant safety.

A thriving manufacturing industry means companies can outsource less, employ more hard-working Americans, and increase our number of exports. From the production of raw materials to finished products, mills and factories are responsible for infrastructure, automobiles, electronics, energy and other critical components of daily life. The American economy runs on the vast-producing manufacturing industry the way tires rely on tread to grip pavement. The industry is critical to our ability to compete in a global trade market; otherwise we have no traction. Hard workers are a factor of this equation, and quality workers are only improved by quality training.

Manufacturing safety training benefits old and new workers alike. Employees become even more valuable when armed with industrial safety training, unrivaled experience, and polished skills. The best machines and equipment simply can’t compare. Since manufacturing plant training is available online, it’s an affordable expense that helps even out the playing field for employees with different knowledge and experience levels.

The manufacturing industry will never boom like it did in the 1950s—it’s only one of many economic sectors—but it can alleviate some of the pressure from high unemployment rates. The Federal Reserve says factories added some 50,000 positions to the slim pool of job opportunity in January alone, and accounted for 13 percent of all the jobs created last year. By capitalizing on the steady hiring increase over the past five months with online industrial training, employees become truly irreplaceable.

New hires need custom training. With the advantage of manufacturing plant training and the ability to customize your courses, the hiring process is as efficient as possible. Your employee retention rate increases while the number of accidents decreases, which means overall factory output expands. Manufacturing training will help you harness the potential of a new workforce to improve productivity and enhance safety.

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