Trends in Manufacturing and Workforce Development Driven by COVID-19 Effects
Due to the profound impact of COVID-19, the committee was asked to expand its project scope to review general, longer term potential trends in manufacturing, driven by COVID-19 effects, which could lead to shifts in manufacturing sectors and corresponding workforce demands and skill needs. It was recognized that these trends could include possible declines in incentives for globally distributed production, efforts toward reshoring and more integrated and robust supply chains, declines in labor participation rates, workforce elements with competencies in skills adjacent to manufacturing skills that could be reskilled into manufacturing, and production changes in key manufacturing sectors, amongst others. This chapter summarizes the committee’s relevant findings and recommendations.
EXPOSED VULNERABILITIES AND RISKS
COVID-19 exposed the nation’s vulnerabilities in identifying global threats (biologics) and its readiness to address disrupted supply chains, systemic racism, and the disparity in expectations and composition (gender, race, education level) of the nation’s front-line service, production, and essential workforces. It exposed the extent and impact of the digital divide cutting across the United States, and with it the underlying national security and economic risks associated with inadequate access to critical communications/information technology (IT), infrastructure, education resources and healthcare services.
DISRUPTED SUPPLY CHAINS
The COVID-19 pandemic quickly proved how unprepared U.S. supply chains were for global business disruption. China’s early lockdown and measures taken to stop the spread of the virus brought manufacturing facilities to a standstill. With more than 51,000 companies (including 163 Fortune 1000 companies) having one or more Tier 1 direct suppliers in China and at least five million companies (including 938 Fortune 1000 companies) having one or more Tier 2 suppliers in China,1 the global supply chain disruptions were pervasive, impacting every U.S. manufacturing sector. As early as February 2020, 94 percent of Fortune 1000 companies were reporting supply chain challenges.2
During the early days of the pandemic, about 1.4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost setting back the manufacturing labor force by more than a decade (Figure 5.1).3 From February 2020 to June 2020, the highest declines in manufacturing employment were concentrated in the northeast and Great Lakes regions, areas which had some of the highest incidences of COVID-19 (Figure 5.2).4
As of July 2021, manufacturing had added 952,000 jobs, recouping 69 percent of the jobs lost since the employment trough in April 2020; however, manufacturing employment remains 433,000 below its February 2020 level.5
DIVERSITY GAPS DEMAND A CALL FOR ACTION
The U.S. manufacturing workforce is male dominated (70.5 percent male and 29.5 percent female) and white (79.7 percent), with less than 5 percent of production jobs filled by women of color.
1 By the Editors, 2020, “The Worldwide Business Impact of the Coronavirus,” Dun & Bradstreet, February 11, https://www.dnb.com/perspectives/supply-chain/coronavirus-business-impact.html.
2 E. Sherman, 2020, “94% of the Fortune 1000 Are Seeing Coronavirus Supply Chain Disruptions,” Fortune, February 21, https://fortune.com/2020/02/21/fortune-1000-coronavirus-china-supply-chainimpact.
3 National Association of Manufacturers, 2021, “2.1 Million Manufacturing Jobs Could Go Unfilled by 2030,” NAM News Room, May 4, https://www.nam.org/2-1-million-manufacturing-jobscould-go-unfilled-by-2030-13743.
4 D. Michael, 2020, “Geographic Impact of COVID-19 in BLS Surveys By Industry,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, August, https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2020/article/geographic-impact-of-covid-19-in-blssurveys-by-industry.htm.
5 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Current Employment Statistics: Highlights,” https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/ceshighlights.pdf, accessed July 2021.
Between 2021 and 2030, it is estimated that 4 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled—2.5 million due to retirements and 1.5 million due to expected growth.6 Seventy-seven percent of surveyed manufacturers anticipate ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond.7 They are currently encountering challenges in filling both entry level positions and middle-skill roles. Getting more people of color and women trained and hired into these jobs could help employers fill the workforce gaps. Since entry level positions typically do not require technical know-how or industry knowledge, they can be filled by people recently displaced from other industries (hospitality, retail, food services) which employ a disproportionate share of women, minorities and high-school graduates. Because these positions typically pay 20 percent more than the displaced jobs, efforts to fill could support upward mobility and address racial income inequality. In contrast, middle-skill roles often require some technical training or specialized skills, as well as licensing and certification which can take several months to a year.
6 P. Wellener, V. Reyes, H. Ashton, and C. Moutray, 2021, Creating Pathways for Tomorrow’s Workforce Today, Beyond Reskilling in Manufacturing, Deloitte Insights and the Manufacturing Institute, https://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/research/creating-pathways-for-tomorrows-workforcetoday-beyond-reskilling-in-manufacturing/.
7 Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 2021, Manufacturing Talent Study.
In the past vocational programs filled this gap. However, most public schools no longer offer vocational programs, and as a result, students are not being trained for such roles, which is contributing to a pipeline shortage. Where there have been successful training and apprenticeship programs, such as the advanced manufacturing vocational program operating out of Austin Polytechnical Academy on Chicago’s West Side,8 there have been plenty of opportunities for their diverse graduate pool, but more vocational programs are needed. In addition, programs targeting skilled groups, such as the Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes Make America which links former military men and women to manufacturers, are also helping to fill the skills gap and broaden the diversity pool.
8 M. Hartman, 2021, “What Will It Take to Get More Black and Latinx Workers in Manufacturing Jobs?,” Marketplace, August 26, https://www.marketplace.org/2021/08/26/what-will-it-taketo-get-more-black-and-latinx-workers-in-manufacturing-jobs/.
The lack of gender and racial and ethnic diversity is not limited to manufacturer’s entry level and middle-skill workforce, it is also an issue for the manufacturing engineering workforce. Manufacturing is the highest employer of U.S. engineers, employing 34 percent of U.S. engineers and 31 percent of U.S. engineering technologists.9 Despite women representing nearly half of the overall workforce in the US, within the engineering workforce, only 14 percent of engineers and 17 percent of engineering technologists are women. Underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (African American, Hispanic, Native American/Native Alaskan and Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) comprise 13 percent of the U.S. engineering and 21 percent of engineering technology workforce. Improvements in engineering diversity requires expanding the incoming pipeline of talent and retaining that talent.
According to the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), for the 2020 academic year, the distribution of Bachelor engineering degrees for underrepresented racial and ethnic groups was 11.6 percent Hispanic, 3.8 percent Black/African American, 0.3 percent Native American/Native Alaskan and 0.2 percent Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. (see Table 5.1)10 By comparison, women received 23.6 percent of U.S. engineering degrees; Asian Americans received 13.9 percent, and Foreign nationals received 11.0 percent. Net-net, the United States is now graduating 2.5 times more Foreign national Bachelor engineers than Black/African American, Native American/Native Alaskan and Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders combined. More focused efforts are required to attract, develop and graduate underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, particularly Black/African Americans who now comprise 13.4 percent of U.S. population,11 but only 3.8 percent of graduating Bachelor engineering degrees.
Acknowledging DEI gaps and priorities, in 2020, manufacturers of all sizes committed to the National Association of Manufacturer’s Pledge for Action which states: “By 2025, manufacturers commit to taking 50,000 tangible actions to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities, creating 300,000 pathways to job opportunities for Black people and all people of color. In doing so, manufacturing will reflect the diversity of the overall U.S. workforce by 2030.”12 While 63 percent of manufacturing executives believe they are doing well at building an inclusive culture, when surveyed 49 percent of female, 59 percent of Asian and 70 percent of Black professionals believe their company should do more.
9 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), 2019, Current Status of the U.S. Engineering and Computing Workforce, 2019, https://ira.asee.org/national-benchmark-reports/workforce2019/.
10 Joseph Roy, ASEE, as of August 29, 2021.
11 U.S. Census Bureau, “Quick Facts: United States,” https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219.
12 National Association of Manufacturers, “NAM Pledge for Action,” September 24, 2020, https://www.nam.org/pledge-for-action/.
TABLE 5.1 Total 2020 U.S. Engineering Bachelor Degrees (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020)
|2020 U.S. Engineering Bachelor Degrees||Males||Females||Total Bachelor Degrees||% Ethnic Group/Total Degrees||% Ethnic Male Total Degrees||% Ethnic Female/Total Degrees||% Ethnic Male/Ethnic Group||% Ethnic Female/Ethnic Group||% Ethnic Male/Total Males||% Ethnic Female/Total MalesFemales|
|Black African American||3,671||1,450||5,121||3.8%||2.7%||1.1%||71.7%||28.3%||3.6%||4.5%|
SOURCE: American Society for Engineering Education, 2020, Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology, data compiled from annual survey of engineering colleges. Used with permission.
Employee feedback confirms that manufacturers cannot rely solely on recruiting diverse talent, they must focus on building an inclusive culture, fostering growth opportunities and pathways to careers, and living these values at every level of their organization. Impactful approaches include formal sponsorships, mentorships, and tying learning and development opportunities to career progression. Successful companies celebrate role models, encourage gender diverse teams at all levels, and support work life balance flexibility.13
FUTURE PIPELINE OF U.S. MANUFACTURING GRADUATES POST-COVID-19
With the nation in lockdown, in the Fall of 2020, students faced with family and personal job-losses had to determine whether to enroll full-time, part-time or not at all. Community colleges educate the majority of learners from low-income, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), disabled, and LGBTQ+ students. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the number of students attending community colleges during the Fall 2020 declined by more than 10 percent from Fall 2019. The decrease of male students (−14.7 percent) was more than double as compared to female students (−6.8 percent). Additionally, there was a 21 percent decrease in first-time enrollment and an even more alarming drop of 29 percent enrollment of African American, Hispanic American, and
13 Wellener et al., 2021, Creating Pathways.
Native American first-year students.14,15 A survey of the nation’s ABET accredited engineering programs also confirmed that 2020 freshman enrollments decreased for nearly all engineering disciplines (Figure 5.3), with even greater decreases in enrollments for Master’s engineering degrees (Figure 5.4) and international Master’s engineering degrees (see Figure 5.5).16
In an effort to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected international student enrollment for 2020-2021, the Institute of International Education, conducted a survey and found that international student enrollment for fall 2020 was down 16 percent, largely due to new enrollments decreasing by 43 percent.17 Experts are optimistic that international students will return to the United States when the pandemic draws to a close; however, the key question remains when.
This is important as U.S. technical fields are highly dependent on international students. In 2020, international students received the majority U.S. granted engineering Master’s degrees (54 percent) and Doctoral degrees (58 percent).18 Furthermore, international students represented over 66 percent of the U.S. post-docs employed at U.S. universities and are greater than 50 percent of new advanced manufacturing engineering workforce hires.19 Thus, if significant and on-going decreases in international graduate enrollments were to occur due to the pandemic, it could lead to significant ramifications on two fronts. First, it could reduce the pipeline of advanced engineering talent being trained to enter the advanced manufacturing workforce.20 Second, it could lead to reduced numbers of engineering students and post-docs to support U.S. university research programs, including DoD sponsored programs.
14 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2020, “Term Enrollment Estimates (Fall 2020),” https://nscresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/CTEE_Report_Fall_2020.pdf.
15 See C. Royal, 2021, “COVID-19 Hit Us Hard, but Community College Enrollment Challenges Are a Pre-Existing Condition,” and A. Thomas, “Emerging Leader Perspectives” in Perspectives: Community College Leadership for the 21st Century, April, https://cccse.org/sites/default/files/PerspectivesApril_2021.pdf.
16 J. Roy, 2021, “COVID-19 and Engineering Education: Initial Trends (Draft Report),” June 30.
17 Institute of International Education, 2020, “Fall 2020 International Student Enrollment Snapshot,” November, https://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Insights/Publications/Fall-2020-InternationalStudent-Enrollment-Snapshot.
18 ASEE, 2019, Engineering and Engineering Technology by the Numbers, https://ira.asee.org/wpcontent/uploads/2021/02/Engineering-by-the-Numbers-FINAL-2021.pdf.
19 Joseph Roy, Director, Institutional Research & Analytics, American Society for Engineering Education, “COVID-19 and Engineering Education: Potential Impacts in Materials and Manufacturing Programs,” presentation at the Materials Science and Engineering in a Post-Pandemic World Workshop, December 2020.
20 ASEE, 2019, Engineering and Engineering Technology by the Numbers.
The majority of international students supporting U.S. university research are from three countries: China (34.6 percent), India (18 percent) and South Korea (4.6 percent).21 If the DoD desires to have more U.S. citizens trained and residing in the United States to support the development of cutting-edge military systems and advanced manufacturing in high priority areas such as microelectronics and integrated photonics, then policies and programs will need to be put in place to systematically do so. Potential options could include new grants, fellowships, internships, and other incentives to enable U.S. students—particularly women and underrepresented minorities—to study in critical technology fields. In parallel, the DoD needs to find ways to help retain top performing international students who
21 J. Moody, 2020, “Study: International Student Numbers in U.S. Drop,” US News & World Report, November 16.
have been supporting DoD sponsored research, who have employment opportunities to work in the United States in key advanced manufacturing fields, and who qualify and seek U.S. citizenship.
Net-net, 2020 saw a direct hit on the nation’s community colleges, and undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, resulting in a significant decrease in full-time enrollment of students. This decrease poses potential vulnerabilities to workforce gaps in the mid-term (2 to 4 years), followed by potential overproduction of graduates in 5 to 7 years.22
22 Joseph Roy, Director, Institutional Research & Analytics, ASEE, “COVID-19 and Engineering Education: Potential Impacts in Materials and Manufacturing Programs,” presentation.
THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
In 2020, the pandemic forced much of the world to embrace digital transformation at an expedited pace, reimagining technology’s role in how people work, live, and learn. However, many rural and low-income communities, including those in large urban areas, lack reliable, affordable Internet access.23 Although 97 percent of Americans in urban areas have access to a high-speed service, in rural areas that number falls to 65 percent and on tribal lands to 60 percent, resulting in nearly 30 million Americans who cannot reap the benefit of the digital age.24 During COVID-19 lockdowns, remote employment and learning opportunities were not viable for those without internet access.25,26,27 Online learning is becoming increasingly important in training for manufacturing skills. The digital divide limits access to this training particularly for minority and rural learners, and without it, employment and economic inequalities continued to grow. Since manufacturing is increasingly dependent on entry-level workers with digital skills, it is imperative that equitable access to digital infrastructure is addressed, and in doing, steps are taken to avoid a future advanced manufacturing DEI challenge.
ENDURING TRENDS AND IMPACTS
During the pandemic, policy makers, companies, and workers—out of sheer necessity—adapted to new ways of work. As lockdowns became the new normal, businesses increasingly went digital. Businesses responded by reimagining where and how work is done, thinking through specific work areas, occupational activities and outcomes, and finding new ways to hire, train and redeploy workers with a focus on in-demand tasks and required skills rather than jobs. For manufacturers, this digital transformation accelerated three groups of trends that are expected to
23 National Telecommunications and Information Administration, “Indicators of Broadband Need,” interactive map, U.S. Department of Commerce, https://broadbandusa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=ba2dcd585f5e43cba41b7c1ebf2a43d0, accessed June 16, 2021.
24 Federal Communications Commission, “Chairman Pai Archive: Bridging the Digital Divide for All Americans,” updated January 20, 2021, https://www.fcc.gov/ajit-pai-initiatives-archive.
25 D. Goldstein, 2021, “Research Shows Students Falling Months Behind During Virus Disruptions,” New York Times, July 28.
26 E.A. Vogels, A. Perrin, L. Rainie, and M. Anderson, 2020, “53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak,” Pew Research Center, April 30, https://www.pewresearch.org.
27 E.A. Vogels, 2021, “Digital Divide Persists even as Americans with Lower Incomes Make Gains in Tech Adoption,” Pew Research Center, June 22, https://www.pewresearch.org.
endure well into the future.28,29,30 The first is the shift to and an increasing reliance on remote work, training and virtual interactions. The second is the increased deployment of advanced automation technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce workplace density and cope with surges in demand. The third is reskilling the U.S. manufacturing workforce for Industry 4.0. Collectively, these three trends are far reaching and directly impacting the future of work, manufacturing, education, and economic development.
REMOTE, VIRTUAL, AND AUTOMATED
While telecommuting was previously possible, remote work during the pandemic was enabled by rapid deployment of new digital solutions, such as videoconferencing, document-sharing tools and expansion of cloud-based computing capacity. The pandemic demonstrated that more work could be done remotely than previously thought, including key manufacturing activities such as scheduling, supply chain management, product and process engineering, quality control, and systems diagnostics and repairs.
The impact of these alternate ways of doing work has caused manufacturers to reconsider how to be more efficient, how many workers they really need and at what cost, how and when they train them, where they need them, and how far technology can enhance or replace human labor. At the same time, employees are also seeing the benefits of flexible work locations and schedules. Indeed, 70 percent of surveyed employees say that being able to work from home for at least part of the week is a top criterion in selecting their next job. In the manufacturing sector, work/life balance is the number two priority behind attractive income in choosing where to work. However, it is cited as the top area where manufacturers fall short. In response, 72 percent of surveyed executives say that their organizations have started adopting permanent remote-working models.31 For women, this is important as many women site the lack of work-life balance and flexible work arrangements as a top reason for leaving manufacturing.32 Today with fewer than one in three manufacturing professionals being women, improvements in remote and flexible work arrangements could increase their representation in manufacturing, and in turn, close the gap in manufacturers’ workforce shortages.
28 McKinsey Global Institute, 2021, “The Future of Work After COVID-19,” February.
29 McKinsey & Company, 2020, “Global Surveys of Consumer Sentiment During the Coronavirus Crisis,” October 26, http://www.mckinsey.com.
30 K. Ellingrud, 2021, “Future Of Work Post Covid-19,” Forbes, March 17, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kweilinellingrud/2021/03/17/future-of-work-post-covid-19/?sh=31843ffa55ef.
32 Wellener et al., 2021, Creating Pathways, p. 13.
During the pandemic, due to health and safety reasons, the physical dimension of work emerged as a new factor shaping the future of manufacturing. Onsite and indoor production and warehousing jobs that require higher levels of proximity to coworkers and customers and higher numbers of interpersonal interactions have been most impacted.33 These are also the jobs that have seen the greatest acceleration in use of advanced automation technologies such as collaborative robots, remote visualization, VR, ML, and AI to redesign job tasks such as inspection, quality control, training and predictive maintenance.34 That being said, the adoption of automation has been uneven across manufacturers with SMMs tending to lag behind large firms.35
As companies strive to maintain social distance and adjust to surges in demand for manufactured goods, the use of these advanced automation technologies will continue to rise. As companies look beyond the pandemic, they have an opportunity to reimagine work, their workforce, and their workplace by focusing on specific tasks and activities, not entire jobs. How can they apply automation to make work more engaging and less repetitive, and ensure that more of the time that workers spend is spent on higher value-add activities? Today, physical and manual labor and basic data input and processing skills take up half of worker’s time. Over time, process automation, robotics and related technologies could automate aspects of work, doing it faster and with fewer errors. While the speed and level of job displacement through automation appears to have been overstated by many, directionally these changes must be accounted for as technological change is simultaneously replacing existing work and creating new work; it is not eliminating work altogether.36 Because manufacturing historically has tended to be an earlier adopter of productivity advances, it is important for manufacturing organizations to understand (1) how those functions are currently addressed, (2) how technology and processes enhance those functions, (3) the skills needed to operationalize those technologies and processes, and (4) how existing and new skills can be organized into new and newly redefined roles.
33 McKinsey Global Institute, 2021, “The Future of Work After COVID-19.”
34 R. Strack, M. Carrasco, P. Kolo, N. Nouri, M. Priddis, and R. George, 2021, “The Future of Jobs in the Era of AI,” March 18, Boston Consulting Group, https://www.bcg.com/publications/2021/impact-of-new-technologies-on-jobs.
35 S. Berger, 2020, “Manufacturing in America: A View from the Field,” Research Brief, MIT Work of the Future, November 24, https://workofthefuture.mit.edu/research-post/manufacturingin-america-a-view-from-the-field/.
36 MIT, Future of Work, November 2020.
RESKILLING FOR INDUSTRY 4.0 AND SMART MANUFACTURING
As Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing become further embedded into production facilities, companies are finding that their employees do not have the necessary skills needed to run their digitally intensive, manufacturing facilities. These changes are pervasive impacting entry level (team assemblers) to middle-skill (machinists, inspectors, maintenance technicians) to professional (industrial engineers) roles. New specialized skills (e.g., understanding and working with robotics and automated equipment, automated process monitoring and control, data analysis), technology skills (e.g., system design, understanding connected equipment and industrial control software, computer aided manufacturing, knowledge of statistical analysis and advanced customer data analytics) and collaborative skills (e.g., teaming, process twin development) are required. These changes are altering the nature of manufacturing jobs, creating new roles and transforming others, and putting increasing pressure on manufacturers to reskill their workforce.
In a 2020 survey, 75 percent of industrial organizations identified reskilling their manufacturing workforce to absorb the new automation technologies as important for their success over 2021; however, only 10 percent said they were ready to address this trend.37 In response, progressive companies are shifting their employee training and development programs to 24/7 hybrid models, taking advantage of available virtual on-line coursework and VR training systems, thus allowing their organizations to focus in-person resources on critical hands-on training to accelerate the demonstration of mastery of required skills for certification and employment. In other cases, companies are creating their own rotation programs to help reskill their workers to fill the knowledge gap. For example, GE Appliances (GEA) Industry 4.0 Development Program spans a 2-year period and includes four rotations in industrial controls, robotics, testing, and data visualization. The program helps engineers see how systems work together and how to design and improve problem solving.38 Companies are also working with community colleges and universities to address what curriculum changes could be considered to provide more experiential hands-on learning, while allowing students to develop skills in collaboration and critical systems thinking versus what is found in theoretical engineering programs.
In the future, there will be significant need for workers to retool. Workers will need to build their capacity to adapt to rapidly changing needs—applying more in depth social and personal skills along with digital analytics and technological
37 Wellener et al., 2021, Creating Pathways, p. 7.
38 A. Selko, 2021, “There’s An Engineering Skills Gap and GE Appliances Is Solving It,” Industry Week, June 16, https://www.industryweek.com/talent/article/21167203/theres-an-engineeringskills-gap-and-ge-appliances-is-solving-it.
skills—and build an ability for lifelong learning. Today the U.S. higher education system is primarily focused on providing degrees to traditional students. Moving forward, a more flexible, modular, bite-sized approach (as discussed further in Tasks 2(a) and (d)) could give higher education the chance to broaden its base and meet the future advanced manufacturing needs to upskill and reskill.
Given the convening power of MIIs, and the growing national demand for an Industry 4.0 skilled workforce, MIIs may elect to work with their partners to establish a GEA-like Industry 4.0 Development Program to support their constituents’ regional engineering, technical staff and manufacturing workforce needs. Such a program could be particularly valuable to SMEs who often lack resources to enhance their automation capabilities, including the development of a digitally enabled workforce.39
DIGITAL EMPLOYMENT PLATFORMS AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Understanding the direction of skill change is critical for policymakers, employers, and educators to develop a response to work imbalances to speed the recovery.40 A central part of this response could involve development of manufacturing career pathways, which map out the shortest, most cost-effective ways to reskill displaced workers. To ensure that the labor market is working as efficiently as possible, some governments are creating comprehensive data and digital employment platforms so that workers can navigate to jobs and training opportunities more easily and quickly. The platforms help citizens assess their skills, identify potential employment pathways, and close capability gaps through upskilling and reskilling opportunities.41 Platforms are also being used to predict supply and demand in labor markets and to guide workforce strategies.
Recognizing the importance of this, in 2020, the DoD MII EWD leadership worked with Burning Glass to develop a regional profile that would provide each MII EWD director, the demand-supply-gap and adjacent skills information that would be foundational to a regional intervention initiative. The pilot profile was completed for LIFT42 and that became the model for Burning Glass to complete a Regional Workforce Development Initiative project for Smarter Manufacturing
39 Strack et al., 2021, “The Future of Jobs in the Era of AI.”
42 Joel Simon and Stephen Lynch, “Regional Workforce Development Initiative LIFT- Southeast Michigan: Profile of the Skills and Roles of Industry 4.0, Organizational Transformation Strategies and Career Pathways into Smarter Manufacturing,” Burning Glass Technologies, presentation submitted to the committee on March 11, 2021.
for each of the DoD MIIs.43,44,45,46,47,48 Each project identified regional employers, workforce needs and gaps and potential sources of talent. Specific career pathways, profiling the skills and roles for each of the key occupations, were generated. The following three ways for developing the talent were identified: (1) reskill current talent, (2) combine existing roles, or (3) develop a new pipeline when the core skills are new to manufacturing and not found in the labor market. Taking this approach, pathways were identified where workers can build on skills they already have and transition to adjacent jobs that offer better prospects for pay and promotion. Most importantly, this initiative ensures that MII’s have information to help understand what EWD programs to put in place to fill the key skills gaps in the targeted regions and they can use this data for employer engagement, for alignment of training for employer demand and for career guidance for employees working in a sector. The initiative highlights the opportunity to develop a labor market analytics tool that would allow the MIIs to regularly review, understand and respond to rapidly evolving demand for advanced technical skills. Potentially, it could evolve to a real-time advanced manufacturing national map of state and regional workforce needs which can be collectively acted on by MIIs and MEP.
By example, if we look at a U.S. map of projected 2019-2029 manufacturing job openings in middle skill roles versus available manufacturing apprenticeship programs in 2021, we find the apprenticeship programs are concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast; however, the greatest needs are projected for Texas and California where the number of currently available apprenticeship programs are
43 Joel Simon and Stephen Lynch, “Regional Workforce Development Initiative AFFOA- North Carolina: A Profile of the Skills and Roles of Advanced Fabrics Manufacturing, Career Pathways into Smarter Manufacturing,” Burning Glass Technologies, presentation submitted to the committee on April 8, 2021.
44 Joel Simon and Stephen Lynch, “Regional Workforce Development Initiative MxD- Chicago-Milwaukee Corridor: A Profile of the Skills and Roles of Digital Manufacturing, Career Pathways into Smarter Manufacturing,” Burning Glass Technologies, presentation submitted to the committee on April 8, 2021.
45 Joel Simon and Stephen Lynch, “Regional Workforce Development Initiative NextFlex- San Francisco Area: A Profile of the Skills and Roles of Flexible Hybrid Electronics, Career Pathways into Smarter Manufacturing,” Burning Glass Technologies, presentation submitted to the committee on April 8, 2021.
46 Joel Simon and Stephen Lynch, “Regional Workforce Development Initiative IACMI- Northwest Utah: A Profile of Skills and Roles of Composite Manufacturing, Career Pathways into Smarter Manufacturing,” Burning Glass Technologies, presentation submitted to the committee on April 8, 2021.
47 Joel Simon and Stephen Lynch, “Regional Workforce Development Initiative BioFab- The NH-MA Area: A Profile of Skills and Roles of Tissue Manufacturing, Career Pathways into Smarter Manufacturing,” Burning Glass Technologies, presentation submitted to the committee on April 8, 2021.
48 Joel Simon and Stephen Lynch, “Regional Workforce Development Initiative ARM- Pittsburgh Area: A Profile of Skills and Roles in Robotics Manufacturing, Career Pathways into Smarter Manufacturing,” Burning Glass Technologies, presentation submitted to the committee on April 8, 2021.
quite low. It is this type of information and knowledge that MIIs need so they can better define what is needed nationally, regionally, and locally and who best to partner with (employers, educators, state agencies, and regional economic development personnel) for maximum program and economic impact.
Moving forward, the U.S. government would benefit in having a cross agency workforce strategy and policy unit in place to understand national and regional trends in workforce supply and demand for advanced manufacturing, identify the gaps which exist and develop measures, working across the whole of government, to implement policies and programs to address. Given the rate of change, supporting education systems need to move beyond degree programs that require years to complete, to micro-credentials and certificates tailored to industry needs. Education funding models may also need to shift to support lifelong learning systems that enable continuous learning and upskilling throughout one’s life versus large, one-time subsidies and loans. An excellent example of this type of program
is Singapore’s SkillsFuture49 initiative which has created lifelong learning accounts for every Singaporean 25 years and older which provides funding for a person’s education over their lifetime. It can be used to pay for thousands of pre-approved learning and skills development courses and can be drawn upon whenever needed to upgrade existing skills or gain new ones.50 Since its launch, SkillsFuture’s programs have been expanded to support work-study needs and internships, as well as address the needs of mid-career workers and SMEs. Near-term the DoD may want to explore establishing a “SkillsFuture” type of program for its military staff and veterans to support lifelong learning and facilitate effective job transitions to the civilian sector in advanced manufacturing. For instance, one element could be the Operation Next program for military personnel leaving the services which was first developed by the LIFT MII,51,52 as well as utilization of the new Open edX learning platform, manufacturingworkforce.org.53
SUPPLY CHAIN RESILIENCY POST-COVID-19
During the pandemic, our import dependence exploded. In 2020, the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods passed $900 billion, and the deficit in advanced technology goods jumped from $130 billion in 2019 to $191 billion in 2020.54 A good example, of course, is semiconductors which the United States invented, but now only produces 12 percent.55 In 2020, as the world shifted to remote work, virtual learning, and home entertainment, the demand for digital products increased. These factors, along with the 5G rollout and the continued growth in cloud computing filled up semiconductor capacity orders that other sectors such as automakers had canceled during their own COVID-19 production closures. By the time
49 SkillsFuture Singapore, “SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes,” https://www.skillsfuture.gov.sg/workstudy.
50 G. Cheney, 2021, “Building a System of Lifelong Learning in Singapore,” National Center on Education and the Economy, May 6, https://ncee.org/2021/05/building-a-system-of-lifelonglearning-in-singapore/.
51 Operation Next, LIFT, https://www.opnextjobs.com, accessed June 16, 2021.
52 Manufacturing USA, 2019, “LIFT’s “Operation Next” Trains 101 Soldiers, Preparing Them for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing,” September 23, https://www.manufacturingusa.com/news/lifts-operation-next-trains-101-soldiers-preparing-them-careers-advanced-manufacturing.
53 MIT, 2021, “MIT and U.S. Department of Defense Team Up to Launch a New edX Learning Platform,” MIT News, June 29, https://news.mit.edu/2021/mit-dod-launch-new-edx-learningplatform-manufacturing-education-0629.
54 U.S. Census Bureau, 2021, 2021: U.S. trade in goods with advanced Technology Products.
55 A. Varas, R. Varadarajan, J. Goodrich, and F. Yinug, 2020, Government Incentives and U.S. Competitiveness in Semiconductor Manufacturing, September, https://www.semiconductors.org/wpcontent/uploads/2020/09/Government-Incentives-and-US-Competitiveness-in-SemiconductorManufacturing-Sep-2020.pdf.
automakers and the other sectors realized the need to increase their production, global semiconductor chip shortages had ensued.56 According to Goldman Sachs, the semiconductor shortage is now impacting the speed of economic recovery of 169 industry sectors—including everything from refrigerators to automobiles.57 The semiconductor shortage will cost U.S. automakers alone at least $100 billion, with corresponding job losses and consumer frustration,58
The pandemic led many to conclude that more secure and resilient supply chains are essential for U.S. national security, economic security, and technology leadership. For years, the private sector and public policy approach to domestic production has prioritized efficiency and lower costs over security, sustainability, and resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic dislocation revealed long-standing vulnerabilities in this approach and the nation’s supply chains. The pandemic’s drastic impact on the demand of critical medical products including essential medicines, ventilators and personal protective equipment created global supply chain bottlenecks. The resulting scarcity of supply overwhelmed the U.S. health care system.59
In response, the Biden Administration through an executive order undertook an initial 100-day supply chain review which was released on June 8, 2021.60 It addressed vulnerabilities in, and strengthening of, the resilience of supply chains for four critical products: semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging; large capacity batteries, like those for electric vehicles; critical minerals and materials; and pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Follow on plans have resulted.
Heightened by the pandemic, this concern about supply chain vulnerability is part of a growing bipartisan awareness of challenges to U.S. technology leadership.
56 S.K. Moore, 2021, “How and When the Chip Shortage Will End,” Spectru.IEEE.org, August, pp. 5-7.
57 D. Howley, 2021, “These 169 Industries Are Being Hit by the Global Chip Shortage,” Yahoo! Finance, April 25, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/these-industries-are-hit-hardest-by-the-global-chipshortage-122854251.html.
58 J. Mitchell, 2021, “Biden’s Promising Bid for Strong Supply Chains Risks Falling Short,” Roll Call, July 6.
59 P. Wellener, B. Dollar, S. Laaper, H. Ashton, and D. Beckoff, 2020, “Accelerating Smart Manufacturing: The Value of an Ecosystem Approach,” Deloitte, October 21, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/manufacturing/accelerating-smart-manufacturing.html.
60 See The White House, 2021, Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing American Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-Based Growth, June, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/100-day-supply-chain-review-report.pdf, and The White House, 2021, “Biden-Harris Administration Announces Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to Address Short-Term Supply Chain Discontinuities,” June 8, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statementsreleases/2021/06/08/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-announces-supply-chain-disruptionstask-force-to-address-short-term-supply-chain-discontinuities/.
On June 8, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation for the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (USICA), which directs the Department of Commerce to monitor U.S. critical supply chain resiliency issues and includes $52 billion in federal investments for domestic semiconductor research, design and manufacturing provisions, as well as $26 billion over 5 years to support breakthrough scientific discovery and technology innovation in 10 key areas, including AI, quantum, high-performance computing and semiconductors, robotics/automation/advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, cybersecurity, advanced materials, advanced energy technology and advanced communication technology. It addresses multiple manufacturing concerns providing provisions for the Department of Commerce to double its support for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to work with small manufacturers on new technology and process adoption and to increase funding support for the 16 MIIs and/or add new MIIs with $1.2 billion in funding. On June 28, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two complementary, although narrower in scope alternatives, the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Future Act and the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act. Collectively, these plans have the potential to improve domestic competitiveness and strengthen supply chains. Successful implementation will require interagency collaboration and partnership. It will demand the development, implementation, and scaling of advanced production technologies, and it will require reskilling and upskilling the nation’s workforce to enable these steps to be implemented.
REGIONAL ECOSYSTEMS ENABLE RAPID COVID-19 RESPONSE
In March 2020, the United States faced critical shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect frontline workers and ventilators to treat patients. Leaders were desperate for suppliers and turned to the manufacturing industry for assistance.61 State-level responses to the shortages varied dramatically. While some states scrambled, other states, including Massachusetts, managed to largely avert a supply crisis by mobilizing local and regional manufacturing ecosystems.62 Across the nation, regional manufacturing networks ramped up to respond.63
The Massachusetts Emergency Response Team (M-ERT) project, created to solve a regional crisis in PPE during the height of the pandemic, illustrates how a manufacturing ecosystem can be assembled and then called on to act in a crisis. Prior to the pandemic, the state of Massachusetts, concerned about the future of
61 Wellener et al., 2020, “Accelerating Smart Manufacturing.”
62 E. Reynolds, D. Trafficante, and A. Waldman-Brown, 2021, “Strengthening Manufacturing Innovation Ecosystems Before, During and After Covid,” Working Paper, MIT Work of the Future, January 22, https://workofthefuture.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2021-Working-Paper-ReynoldsTraficonte-WaldmanBrown.pdf.
63 Manufacturing USA, 2021, Rapid Response to COVID-19.
its manufacturing sector, had used, MassTech, its technology support agency, to develop an Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative among state manufacturers, and M2I2, a state capital assistance program to enable state companies and universities in acquiring advanced manufacturing equipment. It also backed efforts by five different MIIs—one Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), was headquartered in the state, and the education programs of another, American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Academy, were located there, as well. Area universities with strong engineering, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UMass-Lowell), were also actively involved. As a result, when the pandemic struck it had a working consortia of companies with state agency and university involvement, two manufacturing institutes ready to act, and a capital program to help. Manufacturers were ready to shift their production lines to meet the crisis, so the group formed M-ERT, and it spun into action. While the federal government focused its resources on vaccines, PPE—where supplies were in crisis—had to be solved locally. The M-ERT consortia converted production lines at a series of companies to rollout PPE. In the nine remaining months of 2020, it produced more than 9 million hospital isolation gowns, 3 million N95 respirators and masks, 5 million face shields, and 10,000 ventilators for emergency rooms. The state made $16 million in grants to help manufacturers acquire the needed new production equipment and scale up production. The two manufacturing institutes provided critical expertise and helped bring together the consortia of companies and their member universities. AFFOA’s fabrics companies were particularly suited and were mobilized to make hospital gowns and N95 masks. Critical to the process was the ability of the MIIs and participating universities to bring lab capabilities to bear, as the PPE equipment had to be tested, demonstrated and validated to meet exacting FDA quality standards. AFFOA’s partner Lincoln Laboratory became an equipment testing center, and laboratories at UMass-Lowell, MIT, and Army ChemBio facilities at Aberdeen, available because of AFFOA, were also brought in.
M-ERT provides a good example of an ecosystem built from regional institutional actors and capabilities that could be applied to meet a critical emergency and mobilized very rapidly. The MIIs played a critical role in the process, contributing their expertise, involving their members, and applying their assets. Particularly interesting was the role lab capability played in the critical demonstration, testing and product validation stages of product implementation and in meeting real-world PPE product needs.
The experience of M-ERT sheds light on the unexpected benefits of investing in and sustaining state-level manufacturing ecosystems in the face of unanticipated crises and the value of building and maintaining manufacturing capabilities in a region. M-ERT highlights two ecosystem capacities—short term mobilization and long-term adaption and planning—which are interdependent and complementary,
and critical for state and regional-level ecosystems to effectively respond to crises like COVID-19, as well as grow U.S. based industries. As an ecosystem, they were effective because they agreed to work together, to collaborate to solve a shared challenge and meet shared objectives, and in doing, they were able to create greater value, faster than any one member could do alone.
A study of M-ERT lessons learned identified four areas for future emphasis and development: (1) strengthening the innovation capacity of SMEs and local supply chains, (2) encouraging startups to move from prototyping to pilot to demonstration and commercial production in the state, (3) developing regional strategic roadmaps of advanced manufacturing technologies which cut across multiple industries to outline a plan of action for growth in the state, and (4) workforce and training particularly when it involves upgrading technology. While these suggestions were made for M-ERT, the committee’s many interviews with experts and officials confirmed that these topics equally apply across the United States. While a number of the suggestions may require new investments (such as technology upgrading to SMMs) others can build upon programs and institutions that have already been established in partnership with other private and non-profit manufacturing-related entities. If passed, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 has the potential of addressing a number of these critical issues as it calls for (1) monitoring of U.S. critical supply chain resiliency issues, (2) scaling-up regional innovation hubs run by consortia of industry, state and local government and education institutions, (3) supporting MEP to work with SMMs on new technology and process adoption, and (4) increasing funding support for the 16 MIIs and adding some new MIIs with $1.2 billion in funding. Successful implementation will require interagency collaboration and public-private partnership. It will demand robust regional ecosystems which have the capacity to define, design, develop and scale appropriate advanced production technologies, including requisite workforce training, to enable regional development and growth.
National security experts, including DoD, have consistently argued that the nation’s underlying commercial industrial foundations are central to the U.S. national security and that essential civilian industries would bear the preponderance of harm from a disruption of strategic and critical material supply.64 The COVID-19 pandemic confirmed these long-standing vulnerabilities in the nation’s supply chains, leading to expansive economic dislocations in key industry sectors such as semiconductors and pharmaceuticals, and massive job losses. For years, the private sector and public policy approach to domestic production has prioritized
64 The White House, 2021, Building Resilient Supply Chains.
lean efficiency and lower costs over security, sustainability, and resilience. Moving forward the nation would benefit in reprioritizing domestic resilience versus lean efficiency. This will require identifying critical supply chains and developing resilient supply chain strategies to support. The U.S. government would benefit in having a workforce strategy and policy unit in place to understand national and regional trends in workforce supply and demand, to identify the gaps which exist and to develop measures, working across the whole of government to implement policies and programs to address. Manufacturers need to act on their commitments to ensure the manufacturing workforce reflects the diversity of the overall U.S. workforce. With the objective of Build Back Better, Executive and legislative actions are in place which have the potential to revitalize domestic competitiveness and strengthen supply chains. Successful implementation will require interagency collaboration and partnership. It will demand the development, implementation, and scaling of advanced process technologies, and it will require reskilling and upskilling the nation’s workforce to enable.
Finding 5.1: More secure and resilient supply chains are essential for U.S. national security, economic security, and technology leadership. U.S executive and legislative actions are in place which have the potential to revitalize domestic competitiveness and strengthen supply chains. Successful implementation will require interagency collaboration and partnership. It will demand the development, implementation, and scaling of advanced process technologies, and it will require reskilling and upskilling the nation’s advanced manufacturing workforce to enable this.
Finding 5.2: The U.S. manufacturing workforce is male dominated and white, with less than 5 percent of production jobs filled by women of color. Between 2021 and 2030, 4 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled. Getting more people of color and women trained and hired into these jobs could help employers fill the impending workforce gaps. Since entry level positions do not require technical or industry know-how, they can be filled by people displaced from other industries (e.g., hospitality and retail) which employ a disproportionate share of women, underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and high-school graduates.
Finding 5.3: Manufacturers are encountering middle-skill workforce shortages. Advanced manufacturing vocational programs have been successful in broadening the diversity pool and filling the skills gap. More are needed.
Finding 5.4: Manufacturing is the largest employer of U.S. engineers; however, only 14 percent are women and 13 percent are underrepresented racial and ethnic
groups. Focused programs need to be put in place to increase the enrollment of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering to reflect the diversity of the U.S. workforce and to enlarge the pipeline of advanced manufacturing talent.
Finding 5.5: In 2020, manufacturers of all sizes committed to the National Association of Manufacture’s Pledge for Action to take tangible actions to increase equity and parity for underrepresented communities and create pathways to job opportunities for people of color, with the objective of manufacturing reflecting the diversity of the overall U.S. workforce by 2030.
Finding 5.6: Community college and university engineering enrollments of both U.S. national and international students significantly decreased in Fall 2020. Depending on the pandemic response, this decrease could result in a near to mid-term (2- to 4-year) shortage of entry-level advanced manufacturing talent, followed by a potential oversupply in 5 to 7 years.
Finding 5.7: The majority of masters and doctoral engineering students and post-docs who are supporting U.S. university research are international and are from three countries: China, India, and Korea. If DoD desires to have more U.S. citizens trained and residing in the United States to support the development of cutting-edge military systems and advanced manufacturing technologies, then policies and programs need to be put in place to systematically do so and to ensure the candidates reflect the diversity of the overall U.S. workforce.
Finding 5.8: Many rural and low-income U.S. communities, including those in large urban areas, lack reliable, affordable internet access. Online learning is becoming increasingly important in training for manufacturing skills. The digital divide limits access to this training particularly for minority and rural learners. Without reliable access, remote education and employment opportunities are not viable. It is imperative that equitable access to digital infrastructure is addressed, and in doing, steps are taken to avoid a future advanced manufacturing DEI challenge.
Finding 5.9: During the pandemic, policy makers, companies, and workers adapted to new ways of work. As lockdowns became the new normal, businesses increasingly went digital. Manufacturers responded by reimagining where and how work is done, thinking through specific work areas, occupational activities, and outcomes, and finding new ways to hire, train and redeploy workers with a focus on in-demand skills rather than jobs. For manufacturers, this digital transformation accelerated three trends with far reaching impact on the future of work, manufacturing, education, and economic development. The three trends are (1) a shift to and an increasing reliance on remote work, training, and virtual interactions; (2)
the increased deployment of advanced automation technologies and AI; and (3) reskilling the U.S. manufacturing workforce for Industry 4.0.
Finding 5.10: As Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing become further embedded into production facilities, companies are finding that their employees do not have the skills needed to operate their digitally intensive, manufacturing facilities. These changes are pervasive and are requiring reskilling at all levels; however, only 10 percent of the companies believe they are ready to address this. Given the convening power of MIIs, and growing national demand for an Industry 4.0 skilled workforce, MIIs are well positioned to establish a GEA-like Industry 4.0 Development Program to support their constituents’ regional engineering, technical staff and manufacturing workforce needs. Such a program could be particularly valuable to SMEs as they often lack resources to enhance their automation capabilities, including the development of a digitally enabled workforce.
Finding 5.11: Understanding the direction of workforce skill change is critical for policymakers, employers, and educators to develop a response to work imbalances to speed the recovery. A central part of this response is the development of manufacturing career pathways, which map out the shortest, most cost-effective ways to reskill displaced workers. The Regional Workforce Development Initiative project for Smarter Manufacturing highlighted the importance of this for MIIs.
Finding 5.12: To ensure that the labor market is working as efficiently as possible, some governments are creating comprehensive data and digital employment platforms. The platforms help citizens assess their skills, identify potential employment pathways and close capability gaps through upskilling and reskilling opportunities. The Regional Workforce Development Initiative project for Smarter Manufacturing highlighted the opportunity to develop a labor market analytics tool that would allow the MIIs to regularly review, understand and respond to rapidly evolving demand for advanced manufacturing technical skills.
Finding 5.13: The U.S. government would benefit in having a cross agency workforce strategy and policy unit in place to understand national and regional trends in workforce supply and demand for advanced manufacturing, to identify the gaps which exist and to develop measures, working across the whole of government to implement policies and programs to address.
Finding 5.14: Governments are beginning to shift funding models to support lifelong learning systems that enable continuous learning and upskilling throughout one’s life versus large, one-time subsidies or loans. Near-term the DoD may want
to explore establishing a “SkillsFuture” type of program for its military staff and veterans to support lifelong learning and facilitate effective job transitions to the civilian sector in advanced manufacturing.
Finding 5.15: The M-ERT project, created to solve a regional crisis in PPE during the height of the pandemic, illustrates how a manufacturing ecosystem can be assembled and then called on to act in a crisis. The MIIs played a critical role in the process, contributing their expertise, involving their members, and applying their assets. M-ERT highlights the unexpected benefits of investing in and sustaining state-level manufacturing ecosystems in the face of unanticipated crises and the value of building and maintaining manufacturing capabilities in a region.
Finding 5.16: If key elements of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 and other relevant legislation become law, it could open the opportunity for OSD ManTech to perform an analysis to address how best to (1) develop regional strategic roadmaps of advanced manufacturing technologies critical to the DoD which cut across multiple industries to outline a plan of action for growth in the states/regions of interest, (2) encourage regional startups to move from prototyping to pilot to demonstration and commercial production in the United States, (3) strengthen the regional innovation capacity of SMMs and local supply chains, and (4) accelerate supporting regional workforce training involving upgrading technology and Industry 4.0 requirements.
Recommendation 5.1: OSD ManTech should work to ensure that workforce development programs from the MIIs are designed to attract, develop and retain women and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. DoD MIIs should define tangible actions they are taking to increase equity and parity for these underrepresented communities and how they are creating pathways to job opportunities for these groups in their technology fields. OSD ManTech should periodically report on their progress in achieving these aims.
Recommendation 5.2: Given the critical importance of resilient supply chains and DoD’s mission to promote and protect, OSD ManTech should engage its industrial advanced manufacturing ecosystem to identify critical barriers beyond technology which would allow the United States to generate more business and market share in the technology areas of its MIIs. OSD ManTech should compile and inform the White House National Economic Council of its findings, including options and policies to address.
Recommendation 5.3: OSD ManTech should support MIIs completing national labor needs analysis for each MII technology field. The MIIs should partner with regional economic development leaders to identify current, as well as forward looking needs. The analysis should identify education and workforce development (EWD) gaps as well as which EWD programs to put in place to address. MIIs should partner, if appropriate, with Manufacturing Extension Partnerships to ensure SMM regional needs are included and appropriate small and mid-sized manufacturer (SMM training needs are met. These efforts should identify which roles can be executed remotely and which roles require regional focus and presence.
Recommendation 5.4: OSD ManTech should sponsor expansion of the MII Career Pathways analysis to create a national map of regional advanced manufacturing workforce needs. The map should be a digital platform which generates a real-time analysis of regional workforce needs which can be accessed and acted on by employers, employees, and regional developers. Ideally, it should also incorporate advanced analytics capabilities enabling identification of future workforce trends thus supporting government supply demand labor market forecasting and policy development.
Recommendation 5.5: OSD ManTech should identify stakeholders and potential partners for establishing a “SkillsFuture” type of program for its military staff and veterans to facilitate effective job transitions to the civilian sector in advanced manufacturing and support their lifelong learning needs. One element could be the Operation Next program for military personnel leaving the services which was first developed by the LIFT MII.
Recommendation 5.6: OSD ManTech should identify options and address what policies and programs should be put in place to increase the number of U.S. citizens trained to support the development of cutting-edge military systems and advanced manufacturing technologies.