Industry Market Trends

Friday Focus: Manufacturing a Better Education

Jan 18, 2013

Colleges and manufacturers nationwide are making strides to help fill the skills gap on manufacturing shop floors. Here are the latest incentives that are geared to help students get the best out of their education and help factories keep their competitive edge when it's time to recruit the top talent.

Manufacturing education is shifting: now there are various certification programs, hybrid curricula that combine hands-on learning with classroom settings, and even the emergence of new degrees. Programs can now even be tailored to students' needs.

Credit: ddpavumba at Credit: ddpavumba at

As the demand for well-informed and multi-talented future manufacturing leaders grows, colleges are responding by developing courses and degrees that help prepare students with a thorough understanding of the industry.

In recent years, the manufacturing sector has been experiencing a type of domino effect: As technology evolves, the demand for workers with higher skill sets rises, and this challenge has ultimately changed the landscape of higher education. The downside to this shift is a skills gap that is widening at a fast pace. The gap is so great that the Society of Manufacturing Engineers estimates that there will be 3 million unfilled jobs in the sector by 2015.

There is one silver lining in the gap: colleges are offering more comprehensive training than ever before, and producing candidates that will help the future workforce. Here are some developments from around the web this week:


Online Manufacturing Courses Spike in Texas

Texas colleges have seen a boom in its online course enrollment, and these numbers will keep growing at a steady pace as manufacturer training requirements increase, the Houston Business Journal reports.


Vermont Manufacturers Call for More Math Education

Companies in Vermont are in search of the right type of employees: those with math skills. To help solve the problem, GW Plastics is creating a program at Vermont Technical College where students can learn and work to hone their skills.


Community College Develops Machine Tool Training Program

A pilot program set to launch later this month will train 10 unemployed or underemployed workers, who get comprehensive machinery training and an introduction to specific programming subjects. Graduates will be qualified for high-paid positions, according to


"AMP it up" Grant Will Introduce STEM to Students

Local manufacturers in Sutton, Mass., are collaborating with the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation thanks to a recent $10,000 grant from MassDevelopment. The grant will help students in grades 7-10 get a better understanding of the manufacturing process, and help expand the knowledge of counselors and teachers who are educating them.