The Council of Industry is pleased to support the latest advancement in workforce development as SUNY Ulster kicks off a state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Program on January 22nd. This critical program is in response to the increasing demand for skilled workers within and beyond the Hudson Valley. Our members indicate that workforce development, recruiting and filling skilled worker positions is one of their primary obstacles. Programs like SUNY Ulster are designed to bridge the gap between education and experience by developing curriculum to meet the needs of local manufacturing employer.
Our Human Resource partners indicate that their recruiting strategy includes establishing relationships with community colleges that offer manufacturing courses. Employers are looking for students and employees who take the initiative to learn the foundations and show an aptitude towards tactical skills and that they are eager to meet and recruit past / present and future students who have expressed an interest in the advanced manufacturing field.
Students completing these programs have a significant advantage over other employment candidates and have a higher likelihood of securing a position in the field.
Last summer, SUNY Ulster constructed a new technology lab incorporating the latest technology in both software and equipment available to students and industry members. The Pfeiffer Technology & Innovation Lab upgrade includes updates to the drafting lab, electronics lab, and mechanical lab. The drafting lab has dual monitor computers, as well as a 3D printing lab. Programs including Solidworks, and Programmable Logic Control (PLC) software are available to credit and non-credit students.
The numbers are in, The country has added jobs for 86 consecutive months — the longest streak on record — according to the Labor Department. (Its numbers date back to 1939.) The unemployment rate has ticked down to 4.1%, the lowest level since 2000. Experts say that the current low rate shows it won’t get much better than this.
In fact, unemployment is so low that an increasing number of employers are reporting they can’t find skilled workers with the wages they’re willing to pay.
Some say wages, not job skills, are the culprit. But the future looks bright overall.
Some economists say that training is great, but that low wages are the real reason why employers can’t find workers. They argue that bosses need to raise salaries or lower application requirements if they’re truly desperate to find good employees.
Still, these are relatively bearable problems. During the height of the recession, there were only 2.2 million job openings, which was entirely bad news for workers. America has 6.6 million unemployed workers today actively looking for jobs. Eight years ago there were more than 15 million people out of work.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released its December report on the state’s manufacturing industry, and it shows good news for manufacturers.
Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity continued to expand strongly. The general business conditions index was little changed at 18.0. Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 19 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index held steady at 19.5, and the shipments index rose four points to 22.4—readings that indicated ongoing solid growth in orders and shipments. The unfilled orders index moved down four points to -8.7, reflecting a decline in unfilled orders. The delivery time index climbed into positive territory, indicating that delivery times lengthened, and the inventories index fell to 1.4, a sign that inventory levels were steady.
The latest idea to reinvent American manufacturing: Servitization.
More manufacturers are shifting their focus from products to end solutions in a means to enhance their competitive advantage.
A survey of 750 manufacturers in 16 countries by enterprise applications company IFS found a growing number are offering “servitization.” Anthony Bourne, Vice President of Global Industry Solutions at IFS wrote a white paper on the trend and said this is where the manufacturer expands its product line with implementation, maintenance, upgrades and a lifecycle approach, offering not just a product but an outcome.
The NY Times published a profile of Ford a few weeks ago, focusing on the legendary car company’s efforts to compete with tech companies like Google and Uber in developing a Self-Driving car. It’s an interesting piece that captures the changing face of manufacturing. The company that introduced the Model T and the factory assembly line that still symbolizes 20th century manufacturing, now trying to remake itself in the image of Silicon Valley, the symbol of 21st century manufacturing. It perfectly symbolizes the ongoing shift technological shift in the industry.
Businesses are collaborating with academic partners to advocate for modern manufacturing jobs. While such collaborations have existed for years they have become more common, and more thorough, as the manufacturing skills gap continues to widen.
Silicon Forest Electronics first learned of the individual through a locally based industry ally, Partners in Careers, which helps provide resources, training, and job placement opportunities to job-seekers. The individual was a recent high school graduate with no designs on attending college.
Partners in Careers volunteered to pay the young man’s wages at Silicon Forest Electronics for 90 days with the aim of giving him industry exposure. Silicon Forest Electronics provided him with a range of work experiences, and he proved to be an unusually quick study, demonstrating — among other skills — that he could excel at military-grade soldering under a microscope.
3D printing is officially transforming industries. Experts have been saying that for ages, but now there’s data to prove it:
With more and more 3D printed parts hitting the market, Forbes predicts the spare-parts supply chain will shift toward 3D printing solutions within the next three years. A survey report from Strategy& estimates that 85% of spare-parts suppliers will build 3D printing into their strategies within five years.
40% Of Manufacturing Machines Are Under-Utilized. That’s the sad fact, but one company had an idea that brought the sharing economy to the manufacturing industry.
Here’s the deal: Say a manufacturer needs to make a machined part, but does not have the needed machinery or a reliable method of outsourcing. Another company (a supplier) has the machinery needed, sitting idle, collecting dust and making no money.
MakeTime brings the two together via its online platform. Much like a dating service, suppliers are matched with part orders from purchasers, based on their machining capabilities and when their machines are available.
Robots have been a part of manufacturing for years now, but recent developments have seen a tipping point in terms of what the machines are capable of. New, sophisticated, robots are rapidly transforming the workplace.
Robots are becoming easier to configure and use than their traditional industrial forebears. Embedded vision systems, sophisticated behavior software, and robotic positioning systems enable workers to train them by example. For instance, some robots can be trained simply by moving them around to teach them where they are expected to go or to perform different tasks such as metal fabrication or molding.
The Socratic method, kinesthetic learning and vivid visualization are three of the techniques that may be effective when teaching engineers and other people in technical occupations, Don Graham of SECO Tools writes for American Machinist.
A successful teaching strategy hinges on two primary goals: get students to retain and apply the information. With that said, instructors first must identify what motivates their students and then tailor the material accordingly, to ensure they achieve those primary goals.
For example, consider machinists in training programs. Most likely the prospect of abundant and lucrative employment opportunities will motivate that particular group of students. So, teachers and instructors should emphasize how the subject matter being taught will help the students become more valuable to potential employers.
Likewise, new cutting tool technology and how it will benefit production operations, for instance, may be what motivates a group of shop engineers in a cutting tool training class. Cutting tool distributors in that same class may want to retain and apply the information, being motivated to sell new products more effectively to their customers.