The Future of Manufacturing Depends on the Next Generation

The news has been full of stories reflecting the current state of American manufacturing. Many reports over the years have dealt with the ongoing shortage of trained workers, also known as the manufacturing skills gap. As corporations bring manufacturing operations back to the U.S., more opportunities are available for the American manufacturing worker, but the question of the skills gap remains.

Luckily, the skills gap isn’t as problematic when a good learning system comes into play. At Hammill Medical, we confronted this issue early on, realizing that if we wanted qualified workers for our manufacturing operation, we would need to confront the challenge straight on. Starting back in 1955, when the company was founded, Ed Hammill (our founder) began an apprenticeship program. Today we continue that effort with the program enrolling 30-40 students. Each student spends a portion of his time in the classroom and a portion working in our shop along with our experienced Journeymen machinist. At the completion of their education, we have the option to hire the best of the class. The graduates come away with an education equivalent to two years of college education as well as a full Journeyman machinist certification.Skills Gap Blog Image Oct. 2015

In a previous post we highlighted the outstanding contributions of inventor Dean Kamen and the work that he continues to do with students in the manufacturing industry. His FIRST organization inspires students of all ages to take their interests and curiosities into successful careers. The understanding is that hands-on problem solving using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts is both fun and rewarding, potentially leading to the innovators of tomorrow.

Unfortunately, manufacturing isn’t a top priority considered by many of today’s American teenagers working towards university. The first step to shrinking the skills gap is changing the aforementioned opinions. A recent Manufacturing Institute study seeked ways to shore the manufacturing workforce. It determined that attracting more women to manufacturing jobs would have a positive impact on the predicted shortage of 2 million workers by 2025.

We currently employ over 200 workers and continue to offer a 4-year formal apprenticeship program that holds state and national accreditation. We are in line with the Manufacturing Institute’s study; that with proper training, mentorship, and diversity, we can recruit and retain the most qualified workers necessary to keep the industry strong.

For more information on our apprenticeship program contact us at 419.476.0789.