Ohio Manufacturing is Trending Upward
Ohio Manufacturing suffered big losses in 2009 as did the rest of the United States. Ohio’s manufacturing losses were characterized by the drastic decline in manufacturing jobs, a significant skills gap in the workforce, and a trend toward deindustrialization in some cities. Despite these adverse outcomes between 2002-2012, there has been considerable effort to bring back Ohio’s manufacturing economy that seems to be working. In August of 2012, the Obama administration put into play a series of initiatives that promote high-tech manufacturing. Starting in Youngstown, Ohio, the federally and privately funded National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute began to generate interest in the 3-D manufacturing industry. Clearly, Ohio’s path towards recovery has been paved as we are quickly becoming a manufacturing hub once again.
Since 2009, we have witnessed GDP rise in Ohio from .94 in 2009 to 1.11 in 2014. This increase can partly be attributed to high-tech, knowledge-based manufacturing in Ohio based companies. What specifically marks the difference in these enterprises and initiatives? The capacity to involve high-tech manufacturing and design into their program, the hiring of skilled workers, and their dedication to innovation. New technologies allow for companies in Ohio to be smarter, safer, and decrease the risk in flaws behind the product making process. With design integrated into the manufacturing processes, manufacturers can also provide quality products that are attractive to consumer markets. Skills such as STEM abilities that can assist in the growth of the industry have proven to work in various companies in Ohio who have alliances with Universities and schools trying to educate the future workforce with these skills.
There are however, potential risk factors that could degenerate the manufacturing market we must consider. The first is being slow to advocate for manufacturing as a legitimate and meaningful career path for the future workforce. Workers of all ages, gender, shapes, and sizes are welcomed and needed, providing they are all adequately skilled. It is important to train these workers with the latest STEM abilities and start integrating them into current advanced manufacturing companies and begin creating an ongoing skills-education plan for manufacturing employees. There’s also the need to diversify the manufacturing industry’s approach towards product-building and making. The manufacturing industry requires constant innovation and outreach towards new and high-tech products.
In the future, Ohio can and will, be an important manufacturing hub in the U.S. and Globally. In these next couple of months, it will be interesting to observe what the new administration initiatives will be in this area and how they plan to implement innovation in manufacturing within the upcoming years.
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