Today's post is from Joyce Maroney, executive director of the Workforce Institute.

Would you be likely to encourage your child to consider a career in manufacturing?  According to a recent national survey commissioned by Kronos Incorporated, while 58 percent of parents want their child to be knowledgeable about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and 43 percent agree STEM-focused careers have a promising future, only 20 percent of parents associate STEM education with the manufacturing industry. The public high school my children attended eliminated its industrial arts program years ago.  The passion for STEM leads students and their parents to think about careers where they create things  with keyboards vs. building the keyboard itself.  

I'd guess many of these parents are thinking that during their lifetimes there has been a steady decline of manufacturing jobs that paid middle class wages.   Over 2 million manufacturing jobs disappeared during the recession.  Manufacturing in the US is far from over, though.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that more than a million jobs have been added back since the lowest point in early 2010.  According to my colleague Kylene Zenk, director of the manufacturing practice at Kronos, “This is an exciting time of digital transformation for many manufacturers and the industry is bursting with opportunity for new and inspired talent. However, nearly half a million manufacturing jobs today are unfilled, and a growing talent shortage suggests manufacturers may have a hard time attracting next-generation employees to fill these positions."

Our survey results represent the responses of 1,004 U.S. parents of children under 18 who were asked about their perceptions of the manufacturing industry as well as priorities regarding their child's future career path. The survey revealed a general lack of knowledge about the manufacturing industry, with many parents (40 percent) stating that they do not have any experience with the manufacturing industry, and three out of four (76 percent) admitting they were unaware that the manufacturing industry is facing a workforce shortage.

However, once presented with facts about the industry's surging growth,economic outlook, and wide availability of high paying jobs, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of parents said they would encourage their child to learn more about career opportunities in manufacturing, and nearly half (47 percent) would even consider a career in manufacturing for themselves if they could start over.

Additional Key Survey Results:

Would you consider a career in manufacturing for your children? For yourself?

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