In a recent interview with Cheddar TV, CEO of Thomas Publishing Company Tony Uphoff discussed the challenges facing manufacturing companies in the United States. The manufacturing industry has long been a stalwart of economic development in the US and revitalizing it will be critical to continued success as a nation. According to Deloitte, “Every dollar spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the U.S. economy, and every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility creates an additional 250 jobs in other sectors.” Clearly, manufacturing jobs are important for economic growth. However, as a country, we face several problems in our manufacturing sector. The skill gap is substantial and continues to widen. Deloitte estimates that “Over the next decade nearly 3 ½ million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled. The skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.” That’s where the federal government comes in. Back in June, the president signed an executive order that increased funding for apprenticeships, increasing the budget from $90 million to $200 million. As Uphoff mentions, it is not immediately clear where this additional funding will be coming from. In The president’s own words, the apprenticeship program is designed to provide “…great jobs without the crippling debt of traditional four-year college degrees.”
Uphoff also references another force working upon the manufacturing industry: technology. As technology advances and improves, its increased presence in the manufacturing industry becomes inevitable. Automation is being utilized more and more to fill the skill gap and keep business producing at a high level. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As Uphoff alludes to, automation creates new job opportunities. Not to mention that not all technological improvements are designed to replace humans. Some, such as Google Glass 2.0, are designed to be used as a tool for better worker efficiency. We here at Checkers are excited by the prospect of technology entering our workspace. Currently, we utilize 3D printing technology to reduce prototyping costs, but perhaps some day we’ll be able to 3D print a cable protector. In the mean time, we manufacture all of our cable protectors and wheel chocks the old fashioned way: on a manufacturing floor in Broomfield, Colorado, USA. To learn more about Checkers’ history and manufacturing processes, click here. To learn about career opportunities at Checkers, click here.