February 15, 2013

What Next?: U.S. Manufacturing

A look at the job growth outlook in this field.

Curt Fullmer: I moved out this way to go to school. I’m hoping to get my associates degree in computer integrated machining and get a job here in Ashville.

Jessica: Curt Fullmer is training to be a machinist at a local community college after serving with the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has this advice for young people looking for jobs:

Curt: Go back into school for a trade that is needed. You could exercise a little discretion as to what is needed in your area before going back to school. And I think if you do that, you’re going to be fine.

Jessica: Meaning, find out what types of jobs companies are looking for and get the right training.

Experts say there could be as many as half a million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. that are not filled because there are not enough skilled workers. Soon, many training schools could be closer to new jobs, literally. That is because more companies are building factories where workers are training at places like the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

President Obama: It’s now a state-of-the-art lab where new workers are mastering what’s called 3D printing, which has the potential to revolutionize the way we make everything. That’s the future.

Jessica: Manufacturing jobs are any job related to creating a product, for example, working at an auto plant. In 1979, twenty percent of Americans had manufacturing jobs. But that number has been dropping steadily for a lot of reasons. Many manufacturing jobs have moved overseas because it is cheaper to make products in other countries. Another reason is that computers are doing jobs people used to do. So last year, just ten percent of Americans had manufacturing jobs.

The Obama administration wants to revive manufacturing as a way to create more jobs and encourage companies to bring factory jobs back from overseas.

President Obama: I believe we attract new jobs to America by investing in new sources of energy, in new infrastructure and the next generation of high wage, high tech, American manufacturing. I believe in manufacturing. I think it makes our country stronger.

Jessica: The president wants Congress to approve $1 billion in spending to expand manufacturing research and training, and create more hubs like the one in Ohio.

President Obama: And I’m calling on Congress to help us set up fifteen institutes, global centers of high-tech jobs and advanced manufacturing around the country.

John Boehner: It’s easy to go out there and be Santa Claus and talk about all the things that you want to give away, but at some point somebody‚Äôs got to pay the bill.

Jessica: Critics of the president’s plan say the best way to grow the U.S. economy is to create jobs that rely on innovation, creativity and talent, not manufacturing. They also say if the country slips back into recession, manufacturing jobs will be the first to disappear.

Julian, back to you.


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