Reflecting on MFG Day 2017

Even with MFG Day 2017 efforts, there is much work to be done to fill the MFG skills gap.

mfg skills gapThere is good news for the manufacturing industry. Last night, the Senate passed a Tax Reform that the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) says is a “critical step forward” for US manufacturers. This is great, considering NAM also reported that 57% of manufacturers will increase wages, 64% will expand their businesses, and 57% will hire more workers if the tax reform was voted into place.

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MFG Day 2017

mfg day 217Shop Floor Automations loves MFG Day.

We recognize that there are some challenges to the manufacturing industry and although our solutions help, there is still a skills gap that needs to be filled.

Around this time last year, we paid a visit to Workshops for Warriors (WFW) and even got to interview their founder Hernan Luis Y Prado about the organization at FABTECH 2016. This year, there has been a lot of progress, but WFW still aims to spread its message further.

“What sets WFW apart from any other Veteran educational organization in the nation are the Nationally-recognized portable and stackable credentials our graduates have the opportunity to earn,” Hernán told Shop Floor Automations. “These credentials are our graduates’ passport to financial freedom, anywhere in the world, for life.”

When Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members attend the programs of WFW, they are earning credentials from many organizations. Significantly, they can gain credentials from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), CNC Software Inc. (MasterCam), SolidWorks, Immerse2Learn, the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), and the American Welding Society (AWS).

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Made in America Strong

American Manufacturing

How to Help Made in America Stay Strong

The state of the economy is always a concern with any company in any line of business. With the American manufacturing industry experiencing growth in the past couple of years, there have also been some shaky areas in its foundation.

While there is growth, there is still a significant skills gap to fill. There are also still concerns about reshoring jobs AKA bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. Growth in the manufacturing industry can be a double-edged sword.

As a citizen of America and someone who is passionate about this industry, you may be wondering how you can help American manufacturing sustain itself. Here are the three top ways you can get involved:

1 – Volunteer for organizations helping with the skills gap. There is always extra work that needs to be done for non-profits. Even if you don’t have manufacturing-specific technical skills, or if you have peers who do not work in this field who want to help, any number of skills are needed to fulfill different tasks. A good example is Workshops for Warriors, who always needs volunteers with Marketing experience and for specific office work to be done. You may even be able to volunteer for some of these organizations remotely if you do not live in the area.

2 – Donate to schools or programs teaching STEM or manufacturing-specific courses. Students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are sometimes lucky enough to find programs provided by their schools, such as Cardinal Manufacturing at Eleva-Strum School District. Otherwise, some kids may need to partake in these activities outside of school with places like Open Source Maker Labs (OSML). This fabrication lab is always seeking donated equipment to help their students create more. Another source of assistance would be to contact local Community Colleges who have manufacturing-related courses. See if they need any materials for the students of those programs – they could need anything from welding masks to extra pads of paper.

3 – Contact politicians. It can be easy to forget that the people who run this country work for us. We can remind politicians that the best ways to enrich our industry are to increase competition against global manufacturing by fixing our taxes/regulations, as well as building a national strategy to help our infrastructure, and increasing R&D (research and development) tax credits or funding possibilities. Even creating more grants, scholarships, and national skills certification programs in the areas of STEM would help our industry greatly.

There are many other areas in which the government has a level of influence to help. On a lower level, you can speak to your city council about locally making more manufacturing opportunities available. You can even try to contact your State Representative(s) or the Governor of your state. The highest levels of influence for manufacturing in politics would be through Cabinet officials in the Departments of Energy, Commerce, Transportation, Defense, Labor, and Education. Agencies that affect our industry are NIST, ARPA-E, NSF, OSTP, SBA, DARPA, AMNPO, the Economic Development Administration, and the US Commercial Service.

If you are looking to help your shop floor be more productive before you can help on a larger level, please contact us. We can help with OEE, productivity issues, and help you stop wasting money on downtime. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form here

 

Top MFG Learning Stories

manufacturing education

James McCanless, an Air Force machinist, shows metal cut products to visiting students

Let’s give our kids the chance to discover manufacturing-related jobs.

Fall is coming, and with it, the entrance of students into their high school senior year, as well as those entering college and postsecondary programs. With students on our minds, especially in regards to the future of manufacturing and upcoming MFG Day, here are the top 5 manufacturing education stories we think you should hear about lately:

  1. SME-EF & NASA helps Wheeling High School – The SME Education Foundation has teamed up with HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) to give these gifted STEM students a chance to make hardware for the International Space Station. Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math are all areas more students need to get interested in, and with amazing organizations like NASA stepping in to help, it is creating an interest for kids to get into manufacturing.
  2. A Quick Spotlight on Jim Filipek – With MFG Day coming up quick, it is so crucial for those in the manufacturing industry to share their insight and their passion with the younger generation for working in this industry. Jim Filipek and his family have been part of the manufacturing industry for years, and after 11 years working in it, he taught in a high school machine shop for two decades, and since 2009, has been a full-time coordinator/instructor for the College of DuPage’s Manufacturing Technology and Welding programs. Great job, Jim!
  3. The 3D Experience Center at Wichita State University – The National Institute of Aviation Research has teamed up with Dassault Systems and Wichita State University to provide the venues for future products and technologies to be developed while being part of a network of companies and experts. What is called the Innovation Campus spreads across 120 acres and over 25 buildings, where students can work on robotics, virtual/augmented reality, reverse engineering, additive manufacturing, and more.
  4. The North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program – The NCTAP is an incredibly successful apprentice program to get young people in the manufacturing industry. Especially since they have programs that start as early as the 11th Grade in high school, this is a very important and valuable program that shows these students there is financial prosperity to be had in these careers – even while learning on the job!
  5. Check out Edge Factor – Do you have NetFlix and Hulu? Who doesn’t? Imagine a video platform similar to these two programs specifically geared towards the manufacturing community. It exists! Check out our interview with Edge Factor’s founder and what inspired this multi media platform to be created. With more and more students connected to streaming sources for entertainment, this could be a great venue to cultivate interest.

Already working in manufacturing and want some resources for better OEE or productivity? Call us at (877) 611-5825 or fill out a form here to contact us. 

Military MFG Career Fair

Workshops for Warriors Career Fair

Military MFG Career Fair

Workshops for Warriors, a long time friend to Shop Floor Automations, will be hosting its inaugural Employer Career Fair on August 4th. More info is at this link, or read below:

“Employers will come to Workshops for Warriors in San Diego CA first for a tour of the facility, and second to participate in 20-minute ‘speed dating’ style interviews with students and Workshops for Warriors alumni,” Workshops for Warriors (WFW) proclaims in a press release about the event.

“We will work to connect Employers with students interested in relocating to their area or are interested in the specific jobs the Employers need to be filled. The event will be followed by an off-site networking event.”

WFW is the only accredited school in the nation that provides training, certifications, and job placement for military veterans. This includes those wounded in action and transitioning service members.

“As you may or may not know, veterans get up to four years to be trained in a particular military occupation, but they have less than one week to transition as civilians,” WFW founder Hernan Luis Y Prado said in an interview with Shop Floor Automations. “The challenging part that we have is that we know people love veterans, but loving a veteran does not make them a good machinist, or fabricator, or welder.”

To read more about what WFW does, click here to read about our visit to their school. If you run a manufacturing company and need solutions for better productivity, improved OEE, or better organization, call us at (877) 611-5825. You may also contact us by clicking here

Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program

Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program

America is the land of opportunity and the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) is an unconventional example of this ideal.

Those who are behind bars will have opportunities through this program to gain skills that will land them stable jobs and do something productive while incarcerated. There can be mixed feelings about this program, though. Prison industry enhancement certification programs
Here are five basic things to know about PIECP, before going forward:

#1 – It was created by Congress in 1979 with the goal of having inmates contribute to society while offsetting the cost of their incarceration, as well as to pay back the crime victims and support their families. Source

#2 – Other than monetary reasons, the program was created not only to reduce prison idleness but to increase job skills for those in prison so they have a good transition upon release and help the economy by filling jobs.

#3 – The only prisoners who are allowed to participate in the program are in State prisons (not Federal prison), are medically able to participate, and have minimum disciplinary records while serving time. Only minimum or medium security level prisons may participate in this program and the only prisoners who take part in PIECP volunteer to do so. Source

#4 – The program also helps with reincarceration rates, since the prisoners who underwent this training and transitioned properly out of prison had non-arrest rates ranging from 60% to 93% meaning more than half of the participants who were monitored did not return to prison. Source

#5 – These programs help to offset the cost to taxpayers of running prisons, as well as helping prisoners not bounce back into jail to eat up further resources. Information varies from source to source, but via this 2010 study, State contributions via taxes to help run prisons can be as low as $58,065 (total annually from taxpayers in North Dakota) all the way up to $7,932,388 (total annually from taxpayers in California). With inflation and prison populations growing over the years, these amounts have no doubt changed. Source 1 & Source 2

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MFG School of the Month – WSBVI & Beyond Vision

WSBVI & Beyond Vision

In previous manufacturing school and education resource blogs, we have mentioned Workshops for Warriors for military veterans, as well as discussed manufacturing apprentice positions and the Cardinal Manufacturing program. Now, we want to highlight our MFG School of the Month by mentioning both WSBVI (Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired) and Beyond Vision.

WSBVI describes their services on their main site stating they have “students with varying degrees of visual impairment enrolled full-timee, with other students receiving short-term educational services. WSBVI offers state-standard K-12 education, as well as an early childhood program, college and career readiness program, extracurricular activities, meals, on-campus housing, and the latest in assistive technology to our students.”

blind machinist The school has many resources and programs for students, including events such as the Braille Olympics and a YouTube channel with videos that highlight their students’ achievements, and even tutorials on how to use social media more easily with screen readers. What we also want to talk about is the amazing possibility that those with visual impairments in Wisconsin have to go on and seek out manufacturing jobs.

Those who graduate from WSBVI, or any other school for those who are blind or otherwise visually impaired, should inquire with an organization called Beyond Vision (AKA the Wisconsin Workshop for the Blind). These individuals work tirelessly to gain meaningful employment for those who are blind or visually impaired. One of Beyond Vision’s services is a machine shop where they employ individuals who are 70 percent or more visually impaired.

“They perform call-center work, assemble and package products, and distribute office supplies at military bases,” states Tim Heston, who wrote about Beyond Vision for The Fabricator. “Perhaps most surprisingly, it also has an eight-employee machine shop that recently delved into metal fabrication with a 40-ton press brake and a single-station punch press.”

“We’re not-for-profit, but we’re not for loss either,” James Kerlin, President and CEO of Beyond Vision explained in The Fabricator. “We have a little saying around here: no margin, no mission. Ninety-nine percent of funding comes from work we do for other companies.”

If you enjoyed this piece, please be sure to share it on social media. If you have a machine shop or a manufacturing shop floor that needs OEE or other efficiency fixes, call (877) 611-5825 or fill out this form so an Account Executive can get back to you. 

The Manufacturer’s Apprentice

Manufacturing Apprentice Programs

With the manufacturing skills gap being a topic that is on all of our minds, one of the tactics being used to address the issue is a time-tested tradition. The position of the manufacturing apprentice, as well as apprentice positions for other industrial jobs like electricians, technicians, and similar jobs, is an excellent option for both job seekers and those in the industry who need skilled workers.

manufacturing apprenticeWhat exactly is an apprentice? The Department of Labor defines an apprentice as a position that “combines on-the-job training with job-related instruction…a “learn while you earn” model – apprentices receive a paycheck from the first day and progressive increases in wages as their skills advance.”

Basically, if you want to be an apprentice, you want to be paid to learn how to do your job. This is preferential to those who know what they want to do for a career. They don’t want to spend two to four years while paying to get a degree somewhere that is not specific to the niche industrial areas that have an urgent need of employees. It’s a win-win.

Here are the three things people seeking an apprenticeship in this job field will need to know to get started:

First, you need to evaluate what area you would want to work in. CareerOneStop, which is a site sponsored by the Department of Labor, will help you build a skills profile. By looking into traits such as your social skills, listening skills, speaking skills, problem-solving skills, technical skills, computer skills, and more, it will give you a list of possible jobs that would suit you. If any of the careers listed are remotely industrial, technical or relative to manufacturing, an apprenticeship would be a good option.

Secondly, you need a starting point, which would be this resource page via the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Here, you will find resources like workshops and apprenticeship listings to take advantage of. The Department of Labor even has special resources for women who want these higher-paying, but unconventional jobs, under the Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

Finally, pick the apprenticeship for you. Once you enter one of these programs, the length of the program and rate of pay will vary. An apprenticeship can be anywhere from one to six years long. There are even informal apprentice positions private companies offer when you look them up on job sites like Indeed.com

Do you already work in the manufacturing industry and need better productivity on your shop floor? Call Shop Floor Automations at (877) 611-5825 or interact with us on social media

International Women’s Day

Women in Manufacturing: Rosie the Riveter & Beyond

For International Women’s Day, Shop Floor Automations wants to take the time to recognize women in the field of manufacturing and similar jobs. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of women in manufacturing, or women in industrial jobs, is Rosie the Riveter, which is a great place to start.

international womens dayThe real-life inspiration for this iconic figure is said to be a woman named Rose Will Monroe. The month of May is extremely significant to Rosie, as the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company came out with the well-known “We Can Do It!” poster in May of 1942, while a Norman Rockwell painting inspired by the ad came out in May of 1943. Rose herself passed away in May of 1997.

World War II was a historic time for women in the workplace. Women who would normally work low-paying administrative assistant type jobs, or were stay-at-home mothers, were filling these important positions during this tumultuous time. A great book to read about this era is “A Mouthful of Rivets: Women at Work in World War II.”

When World War II ended, many women either returned to their homes or office jobs, but a good amount remained in the manufacturing industry. Today, there is a need to maintain and bring more women into this field of work.

“According to a 2015 report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, women make up 47 percent of the overall workforce but just 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce,” quoted Penny Brown of AMT. “Simply put, it can get lonely for a woman on the factory floor. At a time when manufacturing is seeing a desperate need for skilled workers, it seems that it’s a very good time to address ways to tap this vast talent pool.”

“Like young people, women need to see the value of a manufacturing career, but they also need to feel like there is a place for them in it,” Penny continues. “Whether their skill is design, management, engineering, or some other area of business, diversity is proven to improve a company’s competitiveness and innovation.”

Some encouraging sites in regards to women in the field of manufacturing are the Women Can Build photo exhibit, via the California Institute of Technology, as well as many organizations that continue the dialogue to include women in manufacturing, industrial and technical jobs. Just off the top of our heads, there is SWE (Society of Women Engineers), WiM (Women in Manufacturing), Girls Who Code, and SkillScout, for starters.

There are also modern depictions of Rosie that remain alive to this day, from women who do photo shoots dressed up as her, women who cosplay as her for conventions or Halloween, or even the popular Rosie’s restaurant aboard the Carnival Valor ship, which can fit nearly 3000 passengers for each voyage. No matter how you think of women in manufacturing, whether in vintage or modern tones, it is great to see that the conversation never closed up shop.

If you work on a manufacturing shop floor and want to see better productivity, as well as improved OEE, please contact us for solutions! Call us at (877) 611-5825 or contact us on social media

MFG School of the Month: Cardinal Manufacturing

Cardinal Manufacturing

In a new blog installment from Shop Floor Automations called MFG School of the Month, we want to take a moment to highlight a place of learning that is helping to keep the Made in America movement going.

manufacturing school We encourage you to check out our previous, separate pieces on Workshops for Warriors, OSML, and Edge Factor, but for now, we want to take a look at what Cardinal Manufacturing is doing.

The Cardinal Manufacturing program from the Eleva-Strum School District has been in operation for 10 years. The public school system is also known for their Digital Learning Initiative. They are clearly striving to keep their students up to date with current technology, as it relates to getting a career.

Conceptualized in 2007, the program was “designed as a localized way to address the skills gap in advanced manufacturing and to engage our students in meaningful education,” the school website declares. “We are exposing students to the potential of manufacturing-related careers, sharpening their technical skills, and instilling the soft skills and professionalism that employers crave.”

Cardinal is treated as a fully operational machine shop, where locals can order machining, welding, or fabrication jobs from the students. Check out a video from Modern Machine Shop about this terrific school by clicking here.

The school will be holding a workshop on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 for potential future students to come and see what their futures could look like!

If you want information on how to increase productivity in your machine shop, contact Shop Floor Automations today. Reach us at (877) 611-5825 or chat with us on social media