Manufacturing Job Growth Prompts K-12 Training Effort

Career College Central summary:

  • By 2018, 42 percent of jobs in manufacturing will require some postsecondary education or a degree, according to findings from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. A 2012 ManpowerGroup study indicated that machine operators and engineers are among the top 10 jobs that U.S. employers have trouble filling.
  • Many schools are working to meet the demand by modernizing their manufacturing education programs. Nearly 1,300 public high schools and 1,700 two-year colleges offer programs in career-technical education, or CTE, with an enrollment of about 14 million students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • "There isn't a day that goes by that you could live without the output of CTE programs," said Timm Boettcher, the chairman of the Industry Workforce Needs Council of the Association for Career and Technical Education, which works to increase support for CTE from government and business. "The jobs that require CTE are used everywhere: the mechanics, technicians, engineers, welders, and the list goes on."
  • Still, advocates recognize that their interests have suffered from an image problem, with the perception that manufacturing in the United States is dwindling, and the jobs it offers are largely low-skilled. National data from 1990 to 2009 show a steady decline in the average number of CTE credits earned compared with other subjects—course-taking in communications and design and health care increased, for instance, while enrollment in business and manufacturing classes dropped off dramatically.

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