I came across a very thoughtful post by Stacey Wagner at the Manufacturing Innovation Blog. In it, Ms. Wagner discusses the difficulty a lot of small manufacturers are having finding qualified members of our extended American family able to work at their firms and offers some ideas why that is occuring.
Towards the end of her post, Ms. Wagner says “I’ve seen and conducted enough research demonstrating that, over the last few decades, many of our educated young people have chosen careers outside of manufacturing because they saw it as a declining industry.” I have a gut feeling that this perception about the future of manufacturing in this country by our young people, fanned by so-called experts who trumpet a “post-industrial” economy, probably goes a long way to explaining the lack of well-trained people able to work in the manufacturing sector today.
I think we as Americans need to come together and adopt the “Simply American” approach of making American products our default choice when buying consumer goods such as cars, appliances, apparel, shoes, furniture and household goods. Not every product we purchase needs to be made by members of our extended American family, but American products should form the majority of our annual consumer goods purchases. Adopting this approach would revitalize consumer goods manufacturing in this country. As manufacturing once again is seen as leading sector in our economy, young people will again consider a career in manufacturing as a prudent choice.