Manufacturing's return creates greater need from higher ed
- After losing more than 5.7 million jobs between 2000-2010, the U.S. is slowly regaining ground in manufacturing output.
- Among the most important factors in sustaining manufacturing growth is the ability to recruit job-ready employees, likely from community colleges and four-year institutions.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Commerce is seeking to designate 20 institutions of higher education as "manufacturing universities, which will qualify them for access to $20 million designed to improve manufacturing strength in their individual states through engineering and business.
Aside from being an industry unto itself for states and cities, higher education is the only pipeline for mass workforce development. Community colleges will be a key talent pipeline for increased manufacturing positions like welding and construction, while four-year institutions will produce the workforce needed produce manufacturing technology and robotics.
This institutional-industrial connectivity will be especially important for states which have levied consistent cuts to higher education. Louisiana, California and other states with large higher education systems and few resources should rush to partner with any manufacturing corporations coming to their states to offer workforce development through community college, while engaging the federal government to fund tech development intellectual capital from four-year institutions.
- Wall Street Journal How to revitalize U.S. manufacturing