Industry Market Trends

ThomasNet's New Scholarship Program Aims to Bolster Next Generation of Manufacturers

Apr 01, 2013

In an effort to address the widening manufacturing skills gap, ThomasNet has announced a new scholarship program that will provide up to $30,000 for students pursuing manufacturing careers.

As the U.S. manufacturing workforce shortage approaches critical levels, ThomasNet is launching a new scholarship program to help attract talented American and Canadian students toward careers in manufacturing. The ThomasNet North American Manufacturing Scholarship will provide up to 30 students with $1,000 each to help pay for manufacturing-related studies at a two- or four-year college or vocational school (full press release here).

"We hope to have parents, educators, and the manufacturing community join us in encouraging young students to transform their ingenuity and passion into a career in this exciting industry," Eileen Markowitz, president of ThomasNet, said. "With the launch of ThomasNet's first North American Manufacturing Scholarship program, we will recognize those star performers who have already demonstrated achievement in their schools and communities, and who plan to bring their skills and talents to this important industry."

According to ThomasNet's 2012 Industry Market Barometer survey, nearly 50 percent of manufacturing firms are looking to bring on additional employees, including engineers, line workers and skilled-trade workers, yet many positions remain unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates.

"[T]he U.S. education system isn't turning out enough people with the math and science skills needed to operate and repair sophisticated computer-controlled factory equipment, jobs that often pay $50,000 to $80,000 a year, plus benefits," the Wall Street Journal explains. "Manufacturers say parents and guidance counselors discourage bright kids from even considering careers in manufacturing."

Unless immediate steps are taken to address the education problem, the workforce gap will only widen. An estimated 2.7 million manufacturing employees, or roughly 25 percent of the total manufacturing workforce, are aged 55 or older, and as they retire, a new generation of skilled workers will be needed to take their place.

With its new scholarship program, ThomasNet is joining the effort to build and strengthen the next generation of manufacturing talent. The manufacturing community is invited to participate by signing up for a free IMT e-newsletter, including IMT Career Journal, providing coverage on the key labor issues in today's industrial workforce. For each new subscription, ThomasNet pledges to contribute, up to $30,000, to the scholarship program.

To be eligible for the ThomasNet North American Manufacturing Scholarship, applicants must be graduating U.S. high school seniors or Canadian secondary students planning to major in engineering, study supply chain management or business operations, or learn a skilled trade. Students and educators can learn more at The application deadline is July 1, 2013.