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For those interested in the trades, there has never been a better time to participate in an industry experiencing an automation revolution. In order to continue competing globally, American Manufacturing needs to close the skills gap with a new workforce of digital natives. This gap includes positions in advanced welding, CNC machining, CNC programming, and technical jobs of all kinds. 

Opportunities in the Trades Have Exploded

Don’t believe the hype; instead of eliminating jobs, automation, augmented reality, and IoT have actually lead to incredible job growth. The proof is in the data, according to The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte. In their 2018 study on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution researchers note that, “the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028.” 

Manufacturers are already feeling the pain. During the first quarter of 2019, more than 25% of manufacturers had to turn down new business because of this lack of skilled talent. To solve the problem, companies are competing hard with 4-year colleges to attract high school students.

This is because both Millennials and Zennials already have many of the skills modern manufacturers need right now. In order to succeed in a global industry flush with automation, American Manufacturing requires a workforce full of these tech savvy digital natives. To close the gap with the right talent, manufacturing companies are offering young people higher wages, better benefits, and more sustainable, streamlined educational tracks than many white collar industries.

What Do Trades Careers of the Future Look Like?

American Manufacturing currently needs CNC machine operators, machinists, maintenance and repair experts, mechatronics technicians, tool and die makers, welders, and so much more. These highly digitized positions are not your grandfather’s factory job, with some economists even labeling them as “new-collar” work. Under the umbrella of modern manufacturing work, software savvy inventory and supply analysts are just as important as welders, machinists, and technicians.

According to Carol Lee, the director for The Manufacturing Institute, “many young people just don’t know what is happening inside these plants — they don’t realize that it’s a high-tech industry with great career potential.” Thanks to all this new technology, manufacturing careers also provide better on-the-job training, without the need to go back to school for constant re-education. For example, manufacturers like Honeywell are using AR, VR, and simulations instead of traditional classrooms, to speed up the learning curve and improve the quality of education. 

Modern manufacturing jobs also allow students to enter the workforce much sooner. High school students can even begin their careers today, instead of waiting until after college to enter the field. Right now, companies like Allis Roller are using programs that employ, pay, and educate high school students while they earn a variety of degrees and certifications. Apprenticeship programs also don’t charge tuition and take less time than a four-year university education. 

The bottom line is that a modern manufacturing job can provide a more cost effective educational track in a high tech field with serious career potential. For more information on how trades careers offer virtually unlimited education and growth, get in touch with an Allis Roller team member here.

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