How Can We Recruit the Next Generation to Fill New-collar Jobs in American Manufacturing?

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The manufacturing industry is ripe with opportunity. So why aren’t workers flocking to this field — and what can be done to entice the next generation? Ralf Weiser, vice president of operations at Alexanderwerk Inc., an 85-year-old company with compaction and granulation expertise, spoke to Tony Uphoff on a recent Thomas Industry Update Podcast about the three Ds of manufacturing and how manufacturing leaders can change the stereotypes of the industry and cultivate the next generation of innovators. A Growing Divide The Industrial Age — from about 1760 to 1840 — ushered in an era of great innovation and social change. Ordinary people found job opportunities in factories, and the middle class rose in power. The U.S. was able to rebuild after World War II thanks to manufacturing. Not long after, in 1949, private higher-education institutions reached a new pinnacle, and as schools were run for profit, there began a greater marketing push to position college education as the key to the American Dream. As part of his Great Society agenda, President Johnson signed the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.”

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