President Donald Trump greets GM CEO Mary Barra as he hosted a breakfast with automobile leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House recently. Photo: AP
The president tweeted, “I want new plants to be built here for cars sold here!” He told reporters he was already “bringing manufacturing back to the United States big league.”
Also attending the meeting was Ford CEO Mark Fields who praised the new administration.
“As an industry we’re excited about working together with the president and his administration on tax policies, on regulation and on trade to really create a renaissance in American manufacturing,” he said.
In a column by Mike Collins, the author of “Saving American Manufacturing,” he wrote about the problems manufacturing faces.
Many students, parents, and teachers still identify with the old vision of a manufacturing plant as a dirty, grimy, and dangerous working environment where workers do low skill and back breaking jobs.
If there are so many job opportunities, why don’t we just announce the opportunity to parents, community colleges, universities, high schools, and grade schools? Well, there are many problems and obstacles to consider:
The single biggest problem is that American manufacturing has a bad image. Many students and citizens still see manufacturing as a world of dirty, dark, sweatshops offering long hours and low pay. Students use adjectives like boring, repetitious, and dangerous to describe their pre-conceived notion of manufacturing work.
Parents have not viewed working in a factory as an acceptable career goal for at least 30 years. Regardless of the emerging manufacturing job opportunities, most parents still want their kids to go to college and get a white-collar job.
Many teachers and counselors also see manufacturing as a dead end career path.
It is ironic that at the same time manufacturing needs skilled workers by the thousands, most shop or industrial arts classes have been shutdown and replaced by computer labs.
There’s great benefit to rolling up our sleeves, getting our hands dirty, and building things.