What is the key to obtaining and maintaining economic growth as a nation? Many, including The United States government, believe it is enticing the workforce to take up interests and jobs in the manufacturing industry. The good news for us: this solution not only calls us to duty at a time of need; it also revitalizes our industry and could change the perceptions of the sector. So how do we interest new generations in becoming innovative, manufacturing leaders? Teaching the magic of creation with STEM in schools.
As technology continues to fuel economic recovery, manufacturing is implementing the use of robotics and cobotics in the production line. Students are already learning to program, design, and manipulate mechanical parts and robotic elements to complete certain tasks in the classroom. The hands-on approach is more fun and arguably more applicable than traditional methods of teaching. Moreover, students are now literally able to design new technologies in the classroom. Teaching with STEM taps into student’s curiosity and allows them to build the ideas they propose. The ability to repair, program, and design new approaches in production using automation, such as robotics and cobotics, is not only a skill for the classroom; it will be a hugely sought after asset in the next couple of years.
High school programs are also starting to combine STEM in their curriculum’s in the most authentic way by partnering manufacturers to provide students with certifications that will boost their CVs post-high school graduation. This creates an obvious incentive for students to really apply their skills learned in school towards jobs in the modern manufacturing industry. High-tech manufacturing jobs can be an extremely lucrative alternative to other careers that require a 4 to 5-year degree, but this is not for lack of difficulty. STEM certification only requires a two-year associate’s career path that can catch the eye of young students looking for a quick entry into the workforce. Encouragement might also come from the rise of apprenticeship programs which are starting to make a strong comeback as a more significant learning experience for all students. Technical school is no longer an easier alternative to a high school diploma, as these programs are competitive and require complex skills.
Manufacturing was the pride and joy of the 2nd industrial revolution, and now that the country is turning its eyes to us again, we have a lot of value to offer. Our industry is the backbone of the United States economy, and we’d like to be the backbone of innovative education too. As Science, Technology, Engineering and Math penetrate the curriculum, we want to be there investing in the bright future for the high-tech manufacturing industry. And for now, students are responding well.
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