RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — As Manufacturing Day, Oct. 2, approaches, the International Society of Automation (ISA) and its affiliate association, the Automation Federation, celebrate the importance of manufacturing to the world’s economic health and future.

Supported by leading manufacturers and other industry supporters, Manufacturing Day is designed to amplify the voice of individual companies and coordinate a collective movement toward greater understanding and solutions to key manufacturing challenges.

Perhaps the most pressing challenge facing manufacturers in the US is the growing skills gap. Experts project that over the next 10 years nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed. However, because of the ongoing shortage of qualified workers, up to 2 million of these jobs may go unfilled.

Today, six out of 10 production jobs remain open because of the talent shortage, according to a recent study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte.

“As an association comprised of many professionals involved in manufacturing throughout the world, ISA is innately aware of the vital role manufacturing plays in increasing technological innovation and driving global economic growth,” states Patrick Gouhin, ISA executive director and CEO. “But to sustain strong manufacturing capabilities you must have a skilled, educated workforce.”

Closing the skills gap, Gouhin says, will require a significant influx of talented young workers in all fields of engineering, including automation and control—particularly given that throngs of current manufacturing workers, part of the Baby Boomer Generation, are on the verge of retirement.

“Manufacturing Day is important because it’s an opportunity to expand awareness of these challenges and take action to turn the tide,” he asserts. “Much more needs to be done to encourage more young people to pursue STEM-centric education and career fields.”

Because the workforce shortage is increasing demand for and the value of qualified workers, new graduates and others who have the right technical skills are likely to obtain well-paying positions. Already, the average annual salary of a manufacturing worker is $77,000.

Companies, community groups, other organizations as well as individuals are encouraged to support and recognize Manufacturing Day. The most visible and influential way to get involved is by hosting a Manufacturing Day event.

Examples include:

• Plant tours

• Manufacturing community events and expos (through collaboration with numerous companies)

• Job fairs

• Educational fairs

• Celebrations of the manufacturing community

Currently, there are more than 1,300 events scheduled in support of Manufacturing Day.

To search for events in your area, click here.