The resurgent manufacturing sector has been a boon in America’s struggling economy, but women are being left out of the action. In her second segment on the upswing in manufacturing jobs in the US, business contributor Rebecca Harris talks about the way that the new world of manufacturing is keying off of cutting edge innovation to create jobs.
Pittsburgh and southwest PA is on the comeback, but according to Harris, “That manufacturing requires more technology skills.”
The new world of manufacturing is centered around workers who are technologically proficient, and all of this begins with a STEM, or Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, education. Harris says there are open jobs in manufacturing across the country, but workers need to develop these skills in order to fit into the equation.
According to Harris, one of the most intriguing of these fields, is the world of additive manufacturing, which many know as 3D printing. Last year, a $30 million grant was used to establish the National Additive Manufacturing Institute in Youngstown, Ohio. This bodes well for a technology that has limitless possibilities, and the industry that surrounds it. So where do female workers fit into the equation? According to Harris, almost nowhere.
“The gender gap in manufacturing is actually wider” than in the past, says Harris. Since 2010, the number of women in the manufacturing workforce has gone down by 28,000 even as the number of jobs has increased by 600,000. Still, by developing a good education in STEM fields, women may be able to fight their way back into the workforce, says Harris. “Manufacturing has such a current shortage of skilled workers.”