The Manufacturing Skills Gap
Manufacturing will always be this nation’s economic backbone. But as global competition increases and baby boomers begin to retire in record numbers, it becomes increasingly important to attract a new generation of skilled manufacturing workers. Despite layoffs during the last recession, manufacturers were still having trouble finding employees with the right mix of skills in certain job functions to meet the demands of modern manufacturing.
Dream It. Do It.® was created in 2005 by The Manufacturing Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers not-for-profit education and policy arm, to introduce young people to manufacturing’s broad range of interesting and financially rewarding careers. Dream It. Do It. was designed as a national strategy to promote strong, regional, pro-manufacturing partnerships among industry, educational, economic development and civic leaders, and develop a clear understanding of today’s manufacturing and its contributions to innovation, productivity, economic growth and high-quality careers.
Bringing a National Initiative to Connecticut
Connecticut. Dream It Do It. was launched in December 2010 by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT) to address the common issues and goals of the state’s manufacturing sector and help support the future manufacturing workforce pipeline. Through their efforts, Connecticut. Dream It Do It. hopes to increase the number of students choosing to pursue educational and career pathways in manufacturing and the number of prepared applicants for manufacturing jobs through the attainment of industry-endorsed skills credentials.
“A smart, safe, and sustainable manufacturing sector relies on the knowledge, advanced skills, and innovation of its workforce. We need to attract students to long-term careers in manufacturing and prepare them to meet future marketplace demands. An education system that provides industry-sponsored credentials is a critical part of creating the workforce we need to be successful.”
– Blake Moret, Vice President, Rockwell Automation
- Career awareness. CTDIDI provides students, parents and families, and educators with a wide variety of resources and programs that dispel misconceptions about the 21st century manufacturing workplace, and introduce the broad range of educational and career opportunities that manufacturing offers.
- Outreach. CTDIDI engages in targeted marketing campaigns that include social media, radio and print, presentations, and distribution of collateral materials.
- Manufacturing Month. Officially proclaimed “Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. Manufacturing Month,” every October features student-focused events, industry and education open houses, and many more activities highlighting Connecticut’s varied and robust manufacturing industry.
- National spotlight. CTDIDI has been recognized by The Manufacturing Institute as a national model, with both its “Young Manufacturers Academy” and “Making It Real: Girls & Manufacturing” programs named as best practices for replication throughout the network and endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers.
Founded on existing partnerships with industry, education, and economic and workforce development organizations, and a strong commitment to the growth of manufacturing statewide, CTDIDI addresses a high priority among manufacturers: creating the next generation of skilled workers, with a primary focus on students in grades 5-9.
“We can begin to create a broader range of opportunities that really will excite not only our students but begin to excite society as a whole about manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing is our only future if we are going to have a sustainable society.”
– Dan Swinney, Executive Director, Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council