Did you know?
- Manufacturing supports more than 17.4 million U.S. Jobs including 63% of the nation's scientists and engineers
- $77,000 is the average salary for manufacturing workers
To be innovative global competitors, U.S. manufacturers require an adaptable workforce with broad skills. Today's manufacturing employees need soft skills as well as technical skills, including emotional intelligence, communication skills, strength in cognition and analysis, business acumen, and creative problem-solving skills. Supervisors are leaders, not just technicians, and are required to be mentors, not simply bosses. Front-line workers are valued for their ideas, not just their output. Manufacturers with an efficient and effective workforce have reduced turnover, improved customer service, created more new product ideation and patents, shortened cycle times in problem-solving, and decreased liability costs.
According to U.S. manufacturing executives, "a skilled educated workforce is the single most critical element of innovation success and the hardest to acquire." In part, this is because America's youth have misperceptions about manufacturing, thinking that it is "dirty and dangerous", when, in fact, today's manufacturing jobs are high tech and driven by rapidly advancing technologies and equipment.
NIST MEP is committed to supporting the U.S. Department of Commerce's Strategic Objective "to accelerate the development of industry-led skills strategies that result in a productive workforce for employers and high-quality jobs for workers". MEP helps manufacturers address their challenges at multiple levels.
Centers serve as an invaluable partner to the manufacturing community by:
- Educating local and regional partners on small and medium sized manufacturer needs and drivers of behavior.
- Providing outreach to manufacturers by connecting them to other programs and services offered by partner organizations.
- Connecting the gap between technology developers / R&D organizations and manufacturers: finding firms that are interested in a particular technology, as well as informing tech developers of manufacturer’s technology needs.
- Supporting workforce development programs.
Leveraging resources at the federal, state, and local levels, MEP and its partners offer a wide range of tools, services, training, and opportunities to help manufacturers approach their workforce issues strategically and to help improve the public's image of plant work. Download a PDF of the One Pager
MEP centers are engaged in numerous national efforts that foster collaboration across programs and agencies, in addressing manufacturer workforce needs. Several of these efforts include:
- Skills Certification
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Download a PDF of the One Pager
- Community College Partnerships with Education and Economic Development