Based on the results of a new survey by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturers are estimated to spend at least $26.2 billion this year on internal and external training programs for new and existing manufacturing employees. This astonishing number is the first time the Institute has calculated manufacturing expenditures to close the skills gap. Conducted by the Center for Manufacturing Research Director and NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray, it found that the vast majority of manufacturers (79.4%) are increasing their workforce training efforts in an effort to combat the industry’s significant skills gap.

“Manufacturers are clear-eyed about the challenge ahead: the future of the manufacturing industry will be tied to the future of its workforce,” said Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “That’s why manufacturers across the country are doubling down on implementing workforce training efforts, and the MI will continue to offer programming to help solve these issues as well as working with them to excite, educate and empower the next generation of industry leaders.”

“Manufacturers consistently cite the inability to attract and retain talent as their top concern, and as this survey underlines, they are taking strong proactive steps to overcome it,” said Moutray. “Manufacturers are growing and investing significantly in the kind of workforce training programs that we know are so critical to combating the skills gap.”

The most recent NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey found that skilled labor was the top primary business challenge facing manufacturers, and a landmark report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2028 if we don’t take the right steps now. In July 2019, the NAM signed the Pledge to America’s Workers, with manufacturers committing to provide training opportunities to 1,186,000 manufacturers over the next five years to address the skills gap. Moreover, as manufacturers step up workforce training efforts, The Manufacturing Institute and the NAM’s Creators Wanted campaign are aimed at tackling obstacles to manufacturing workforce recruitment. An immersive manufacturing experience is slated to visit at least 20 states to help recruit the new generation of talent.

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