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Shifting to Automation Requires Advanced Skills

Dec 11, 2019

The American factory floor is quickly filling with college-educated workers. This transition is not because college grads can’t find work, but because industry and manufacturing jobs are increasingly requiring skills and knowledge that college grads have obtained through their education. Wall Street Journal writer, Austen Hufford, wrote (Dec. 10, p.1) that American manufacturers, for the first time in history, are on track to employ more college graduates than workers with a high-school education or less. The shift toward automation has increased productivity in factories. At the same time, manufacturing has opened the doors to employing more women, while reducing prospects for all lower-skilled workers.

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More than one million jobs have been added by U.S. manufacturers since the 2008 recession. Most of those jobs have gone to women and men with degrees. Jobs such as industrial engineers, requiring complex problem-solving skills, grew 10% over the last six-years. Employers must act now to upskill the workforce. According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), approximately 14% of the workforce will have to change careers due to the rise in artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Over the coming months, electrical contractors (ECs) will be able to meet this demand by directing their employees to various college courses of study through the NECA College degree program. ECs will help employees progress in their careers and hone their skills by promoting training and advancement practices through NECA College.

Additional reading about work skills for the future of manufacturing and construction:

NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology
, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not-too-distant future. Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.