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The Maintenance Management Blog

November 14, 2014

How Young People Are Going to Save Manufacturing

How Young People Are Going to Save Manufacturing

As the future boldly marches forward, we turn to our youth to carry the flag forward and take the reins of innovation firmly in their hands. This is true for politics and the world in general, and, more specifically, for the realm of technology. The same holds true for manufacturing, as ever-changing processes, manufacturing philosophies, and equipment continue to evolve. But how do we ensure the younger generation embraces manufacturing as they move beyond college and enter the workforce? We will examine this issue in this quick blog post.

Let's face it -- manufacturing probably is not viewed as a glamorous job by today"s youth. While jobs in mobile, computing, gaming and healthcare continue to see a glut in the market, manufacturing companies struggle to find skilled machine operators and future leaders.

This is a huge problem that can lead to a stagnant era in manufacturing, just as the industry is poised for a big comeback here in the United States. So what do we do to help college students and young workers get interested in jobs within the manufacturing realm?

One way is through education. Many students (and workers in general) are not aware that there are high-paying and interesting jobs available in the industry. Think about: when parents encourage their children about career paths of the future, they always push them to pursue being a lawyer, doctor, or some other "prestigious" role. Changing the perception of manufacturing jobs from low-paying and intimidating to interesting and a great way to earn a great wage is a key factor to ensuring the next generation picks up the reins.

Of course, that is a lofty goal and you may find yourself asking the question: what can I do from a more localized perspective?

One step you (or your company) can take is to offer paid internships. While some employers may look down upon this idea or see it is an added expense, in reality, paid internships are a great investment in a company"s future. Not only are you "giving back" or "paying it forward," by taking on paid interns, you are directly grooming the next generation of employees.

Consider this: when you hire a paid intern, you are in essence giving them on-the-job training and real-world experience -- the same thing you do when you hire a person responding to a classified ad. However, when you bring on a paid intern, you are usually paying them a smaller fee during the internship process. In addition, you get to see their personality, work ethic, and how well they work with your crew prior to fully committing to them. And let's not forget that while they are in their internship, they will actually be working, so you aren't just training them and sending them on their way with nothing in return.

Finally, if the time comes and you decide to hire an intern, you know that you will be getting an employee that is actually excited and grateful for the opportunity you are providing them. That sort of attitude goes a long way in terms of worker efficiency and morale.

As the manufacturing world continues to evolve and the battle for manufacturing supremacy carries out on the world stage, make sure your company is doing everything it can to encourage the next crop of manufacturing innovators to usher in a new golden age. When thinking about whether to pay it forward or not, remember this: someone did it for you. Where would you be if someone had not offered you the same opportunity?


Lisa Richards

About the Author – Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is an experienced professional in the field of industrial management and is an avid blogger about maintenance management systems and productivity innovation. Richards' undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering opened the door for her initial career path with a Midwest-based agricultural implement manufacturer with global market reach. Over a span of 10 years, Lisa worked her way through various staff leadership positions in the manufacturing process until reaching the operations manager level at a construction and forestry equipment facility. Lisa excelled at increasing productivity while maintaining or lowering operating budgets for her plant sites.

An Illinois native, Lisa recently returned to her suburban Chicago North Shore hometown to raise her family. Lisa has chosen to be active in her community and schools while her two young girls begin their own journey through life. Richards has now joined the MAPCON team as an educational outreach writer in support of their efforts to inform maintenance management specialists about the advantages in marrying advanced maintenance software with cutting-edge facility and industrial management strategies.

Filed under: manufacturing internships — Lisa Richards on November 14, 2014