Tomorrow (October 5) has been designated Manufacturing Day by an organizing group that includes the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (H/T) (part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology), the National Association of Manufacturers, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (International) and the Manufacturing Institute. This year marks the first of what the group intends to be an annual occurrence.
There are a number of facility tours and similar events scheduled for tomorrow. The intent of the day is to raise awareness of what manufacturing does in the U.S., the need for more young people to go into manufacturing, and the kinds of jobs available. While not obviously connected to the work Mike Rowe has been doing to raise awareness of the skilled trades, I think he’d consider it a good thing.
Personally, I think this event is a great means of demonstratIng the continued stovepipes that exist in the manufacturing sector and what might be considered the more traditional science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs. The federal agencies supporting these two areas are quite distinct, with skilled trades work support coming mostly from the ‘technology’ agencies and STEM support coming second nature to the ‘science’ agencies. These stovepipes need to be destroyed. Rowe’s advocacy work suggests he believes STEM education has crowded out support for skilled trades, and I think placing them in opposition is a mistake.
As I tried to argue last year, the skilled trades rely on STEM knowledge and skills and vice versa. The sooner we can get that across to people in power and practice, the better we can prepare the next generation of makers.