Jack, H., “The 2012 State of Manufacturing Education”, ASEE Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, June 2012.
The 2012 State of Manufacturing Education
The paper describes the 2012 results of a third annual survey on the state of manufacturing education. The survey respondents include industry, academia, and others. Questions include overall opinions about the state of industry and education, as well as topical preferences. Respondent comments are provided as an appendix and provide some insights into the manufacturing community.
Manufacturing engineering continues to be one of the most dynamic disciplines with constant change driven by global competition and new technologies. Obviously education is a key for preparing manufacturing professionals who have knowledge and skills that can support contemporary and emerging issues 8, 9. In the face of ongoing change it is necessary to assess what has been done, the current status, and a direction for the future. This work focuses on manufacturing education in general perspectives. The work described here is based on prior efforts focused on assessing the state of the college level manufacturing programs 1, 2, 3. The contribution of this work is to present an annual update that extends work presented in 2010 7 covering general opinions of individuals, not only academic programs.
It is worth repeating that the assessment is not unique. Over the last few years there have been many efforts to plot a strong future for manufacturing education. Most notably there have been a set of events exclusively focused on manufacturing education 4, 5, 6.
The work presented in 2010  in the observations listed below. Item 1 was addressed by distributing the survey to a larger industrial base, and the results are analyzed accordingly. Items 4 and 5 were addressed by asking for the priority of topics. Items 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 are points of comparison to the previous study.
1. The results are biased towards manufacturing educator’s perspectives.
2. Educators feel as if they will have an impact on manufacturing and the economy.
3. Educators are inconsistently receiving support or encouragement from outside the manufacturing community.
4. There is demand for more content in manufacturing programs in ALL topical areas listed.
5. Future surveys examining topical content in manufacturing programs should ask for relative importance of topics.
6. Education must be tied to the needs of manufacturers.
7. There are issues with the perceptions and/or image of manufacturing education.
8. There is a natural variation between manufacturing programs.
1. The Survey
A variety of email lists were used for the survey. These included lists compiled from various manufacturing education activities, as well as the ASEE Engineering Technology Division ListServ. Given the anonymous nature of the ListServe, and the fidelity of the other email lists it is estimated that it reached two thousand relevant respondents. There were a total of 202 respondents, a number large enough to indicate statistical significance. The distribution of respondents was suitably broad with large numbers of respondents who are educators (69), managers (54), and technical (58). Table 1 shows the response distribution by role. In total there were 69 educators as opposed to at least 15+54+58=127 respondents in non-academic roles.
Table 1 - Responses to “Your Current Role”
Table 2 shows the employment categories of the respondents. The mismatch between Educator and College employed is 69 to 91, but a similar ratio has been seen before and can be explained by non-teaching College employees doing administration and outreach activities. The distribution of responses indicates a strong presence of opinions from manufacturers.
Table 2 - Responses to ‘Your Employer’
The experience level of respondents is shown in Figure 3. The group with approximately 15-19 years of experience is much lower than it should be. This could be a sign of a poor sample group selection, or possibly a shift out of manufacturing professions.
Table 3 - Answers to “Years in Manufacturing”
2. The Sense of the Community
Five questions were asked to assess the attitude of the manufacturing community. The overall totals for each question are presented in the top rows, along with separate responses for education and industry. The 2012 results are provided along with the 2011 results for comparison.
i) In the coming years do you believe that US manufacturing and manufacturing education will......
As always there is a strong agreement that manufacturing will be vital to the economy. There is much stronger agreement about manufacturing as a political and social priority. There is also stronger agreement that the image of manufacturing is recovering and that education-industry ties are improving. Overall the community seems to have a much more positive outlook this year.
Recommendation: Develop new initiatives while the positive attitudes provide energy and interest.
3. The Manufacturing Sector and Processes Priorities
Graduates should be prepared to deal with the manufacturing environment they will join. To that end questions were asked about the manufacturing sector needs. These provide a context for the topics taught in the curriculum. Table 4 shows the first and second priority responses to this question. It is very important to note that a low priority score does not mean it is unimportant, only that there is adequate coverage or supply.
The results in tables 4, 5, and 6 show the first and second priority totals for the entire survey group. The results for two groups, academics and manufacturers, were totaled separately. The manufacturing group was identified using respondents who listed ‘manufacturer’ as an employer. The Academic group was identified as those who listed ‘Educator’ as their primary role. The numbers are a total of first and second priorities for those groups. This separation was seen as valuable because it captures the agreement or mismatch of priorities between educators and professionals.
Table 4 - Manufacturing Sectors and Processes Priorities
** Significant priority, or substantial difference between industry and academic priorities.
The results in Table 4 address the needs from an industry perspective, using recognized sector names. As would be expected the newer technologies and developments were listed as priorities as opposed to the more established manufacturing industries. Alternative energy and biomedical manufacturing were both recognized as very high demand areas. Other areas of recognized need were all listed and could be used as a crude ranking of priority nationally, but it does not consider regional variations. There were a few mismatches between academic and manufacturing priorities, most notably in automotive and electronics manufacturing. One interesting observation is that the highest need identified by industry was “Production Equipment and Tooling”, ahead of nanotechnology, biomedical, and alternative energy.
Recommendation: Alternative energy, nanotechnology, and biomedical manufacturing should be very high priorities for new programs.
Recommendation: Strengthen the current curriculum including production equipment and tooling, automotive, and electronics manufacturing.
4. Curriculum Priorities
Given that the industry needs focus on the outcome of the education process, a second set of questions were asked about the curriculum content. Table 5 shows how the standard academic categories are ranked as priorities. As before, lower scores do not mean the subject is unneeded, but only that the current treatment is generally sufficient.
As expected there is need for newer topics including advanced manufacturing processes, automation, and lean manufacturing. The call for fundamental knowledge is a priority to many, and this is reinforced by the comments (see the appendices). The interesting contradiction is that industry values product design as much as academics value CAD.
Recommendation: Develop curriculum to address product design, controls, and automation. Manufacturers and academics should cooperate to establish the needed emphasis and content.
Table 5 - Study Topics Priorities
** Significant priority, or substantial difference between industry and academic priorities.
5. Education Methods
Table 6 shows opinions about methods used in education. As always there are a preference for methods that exercise practical skills, and application of theory to practice. An interesting observation is that manufacturers prefer co-op experiences where they lead the education, while academics prefer laboratories where they lead hands-on learning.
Table 6 - Education Method Priorities
** Significant priority, or substantial difference between industry and academic priorities.
Recommendation: Manufacturers and academics need to prioritize hands-on education opportunities.
The survey included three opportunities for free-form comments. The responses are listed in entirety in the appendices, with identifying language removed. The comments have been separated into three groups aligned with the previous tables for industry needs, curriculum content, and education methods. A number of the comments go beyond the questions in the survey and some of these are underlined to highlight other perspectives. In many of these cases the commenter is asking for professionals who can work effectively by themselves. The general trend for the comments is that manufacturers emphasize the need for professional competency in facing the challenges of business competition. On the other hand, academics and other respondents tended to focus on the lack of support for the programs. This is understandable given that manufacturing education is very much a publicly funded process that serves private industries.
Recommendation: The comments should be read to gain further insight to the quantitative survey responses and better understanding of other perspectives.
1. Jack, H., “The State of Manufacturing Engineering Education”, An SME Technical Paper, November 2005
2. Danielson, S, Georgeou, T, “The State of Manufacturing Engineering Technology Education”< ASEE Annual Meeting, 2007.
3. Wells, D., Bennett, R, Radtke, C., “On the Structure and Character of Graduate Education in Manufacturing”, ASEE Annual Meeting, 2007.
4. Jack, H., "Perceptions in the Manufacturing Education Community", ASEE Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY, June 2010.
5. Wells, D., “Challenges and Responses Over a Quarter-Century of Manufacturing Education”, ASEE Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY, June 2010.
6. Waldorf, D., Alptekin, S., Bjurman, R., “Plotting a Bright Future for Manufacturing Education: Results of a Brainstorming Session”, ASEE Annual Meeting, 2006.
Appendix A - Manufacturing Engineering Curriculum Comments
Note: Underlined text indicated items not addressed in the survey.
Project management and collaboration is important in today's environment. Soft skills will help one's career as much as technical education.
Focus on design and how it facilitates lean manufacturing.
I believe the portion of education that could really separate a student from any other student is a deep understanding of manufacturing. The best method of educating in the field of manufacturing is internship. A strong emphasis on internship or co-op with companies that will submerge a student in manufacturing will give invaluable experience that isn't available in the classroom. This type of experience could also be gained by graduate or senior level project that is industry intensive where a student or team of students is asked to assist in an industry problem.
The rule of thumb should always be to teach "a little about a lot" (aka exposure). Being aware certain knowledge exists is almost as important as knowing the details themselves.
Being well rounded should be a priority. For example, in machining, an engineer that understands costing, lean manufacturing, CNC programming and machining is typically expected. However most ABET programs follow the traditional electrical and mechanical molds which leaves a large gap for the graduate to fill. Just as skilled trades have been asked to "wear more hats" so have engineers.
A 6 + year joint journeyman/ engineer program would be very appealing to employers.
Students need to be prepared for careers, not jobs. Certifications or a long list of skills are job related and will be out of date in no time. When I interviewed (and was interviewed), the emphasis was on how the employee handles what they DON'T already know. That's more important than the shopping list of today's hot techniques.
Remember that specific tools come and go. Good engineers need a strong foundation in basic science, math/stat, communications/writing and engineering fundamentals. From this basis, specific techniques are applications of the fundamental knowledge.
It would have been helpful to have the option to select more items from the list. Selecting two or three topics is not an indication of what I want to see as essential topics.
Important Sectors: Biomedical, Automotive, Aviation, Electronics, Energy, Space
Essential Study Topics: Materials, advanced processes, manufacturing systems, management, communication, teamwork, projects / internship
Manufacturing management, quality assurance, digital manufacturing, and materials and processes.
Basic STEM foundation, problem solving techniques coupled with Cooperative education and international experience are key skills we require.
We need a dual system for skilled trades as well as degreed programs for engineering. The skilled trades need to be elevated both on a social level and monetary level similar to the German system. Engineers need the basic skill set as well as experience with innovation and system design.
An emphasis should be placed on Global Manufacturing. There will be more and more work where Engineers will have to collaborate with other cultures and mentalities.
An engineer in any field, particularly as broad of a field as manufacturing, must be able to integrate and apply new technologies as they are introduced. The topics taught at an undergraduate level should provide a foundation of engineering knowledge and instill in its graduates intellectual ability to build on it.
Need to increase engineering tie to business concepts, ROI, NPV, Outsourcing (Make vs. Buy), Working Capital.
Also need to increase manufacturing floor concepts like lean manufacturing, floor layout optimization.
Need to increase knowledge on process optimization, new manufacturing technologies (robotics, automation and controls, new manufacturing processes, etc)
Make some long term bets on what new technologies are going to be in demand in the next decade and start focusing programs on preparing engineering students to excel in those areas.
Students need experiential learning experiences. They also need to have projects that address humanity and would also attract females. Competitions should also focus on design with products that help the handicap for example. At this point, most of the competitions are on race cars; robots etc. that do not necessarily appeal to a broad diverse audience
I taught most of the manufacturing processes courses, manufacturing systems, product design, materials engineering
Manufacturing curriculum needs to be versatile. Students should be equipped with a broad range of manufacturing knowledge upon graduation.
Innovation and its applications to manufacturing, including complex problems solving, cost reduction, reliability improvement, etc.
Manufacturing education should include simple common mechanical fastening methods. Fastener selection is commonly over looked. Self learning is very important for career success because it enables workers to rapidly adapt to gaps in knowledge. These workers quickly stand out for solving problems where there isn't existing knowledge within the company. Graduates should also be familiar with basic measurement practices. Engineers that cannot operate a caliper or micrometer correctly as basic engineering tools degrade confidence.
Validation processes are a critical knowledge gap. Most manufacturing processes require validation for new installations. Statistical evidence of machine capability is required for this process. In the growing technical manufacturing of our state this is critical for manufacturing engineers (all medical, lithium-ion battery, most automotive, etc). It is generally a best practice of manufacturing engineering as a means of documenting your process as being ready for production.
Basic and advanced material removal, CAD/CAM, composites, rapid prototyping, advanced processes.
Understanding of different manufacturing methods, risks, advantages, capabilities
Students need basic, hands on skills such as machining, metal forming, welding, assembly, wiring, machine maintenance, etc. before they get into advanced technical and theoretical course work.
SPC, Six Sigma, Design of Experiments, Hypothesis testing, ANOVA
Core design principles and drafting are not covered well in Engineering coursework. These are the mundane and boring parts of working in the engineering field. The basis of all things manufactured are the working drawings with standard tolerancing and/or GD&T, and applying the best design practices for manufacture of the component described on the print. The prints could be describing a highly detailed product or a simple machine part for a machinist to make. Many engineering job descriptions require producing high quality and manufacturable drawings.
The basic design classes should be based on the student designing small projects and producing the working drawings, and building them from their prints. These should be small, individual, projects (not just the senior project). They will learn more from this process than copying exercises out of a textbook.
Project-Based Learning methods must be deployed from High School on and with much greater emphasis on Chemistry, Physics and Applied Math.
Manufacturing Education should not be focused on teaching technical skills about a list of processes that are, at best, obsolescent if they are already in use!
Topics taught should look to the future and reflect the skills needed to compete in a global marketplace.
Teaching methods should incorporate the latest technologies and provide opportunities for students to collaborate and mentor with industry professionals.
Graduate opportunities should be available to those interested in pursuing a degree beyond the standard 4-year program.
Teach from the ground up. One must be able to understand and apply knowledge. For manufacturing one must at some level be able to understand and use basic machining / CAD / fabricating skills to grow and expand upon as their projects / responsibilities grow. Knowledge of a manufacturing technique with out understanding the intricacies involved in implementing (doing) or utilizing said technique will lead to failure.
Formerly Quality Assurance/Safety in manufacturing facility; now an NSF grant administrator working with industry, manufacturers across the region
Lean Manufacturing, Business Processes
Need to raise the status of manufacturing education
For MI, Automotive will always be a priority, but it looks feels and acts different. Meaning, advanced batteries, so chemical, electrical in mirrors door handles bumpers... Programming of machinery, robotics, controls...
I think in all these things, the classroom, then gain experience model is the best. Everyone wants someone that has had hands on experience.
Manufacturing Education is mostly a local concern and the primary study topics will reflect what is the manufacturing specialty in their placement area. But every program should have components of a general manufacturing education. Every graduate should be familiar with the processes and systems as outlined in DeGarmo/Black's book.
Education Methods - Top Priority - Other - Top Priority probably should be integration of practical real-life manufacturing and engineering design skills (and other real-work skills) in the classroom. Our biggest problem right now is not content, but the lack of people and enthusiasm and creativity and support in general aimed toward manufacturing endeavors.
Our young people and society know all about information flow and building on information, but there seems to be little appreciation for the skills and application needed for actually making physical things work and happen in our communities and world.
Young people generally don't even think or know about what they could do besides manipulate information and communication. In the 60's and 70's, appreciation for the space program successfully infiltrated the school system. An appreciation for the physical things that need to be engineered and built and maintained in our economy and communities could be built into the K-12 system easily; young kids want to know how things work and how to participate in this.
Lean in everything related to Manufacturing (Design to Assembly).
Robotics, Automation, and Electronic control integration using laboratory to support the theory, use internships or coop programs to give confidence"
Top priority - Manufacturing systems - For students without the luxury of a trust fund, the goal of education is to obtain meaningful employment - period. Focused efforts of colleges in becoming "diploma factories" is irresponsible and unfair to the student. The US will eventually have the most well educated individuals and most qualified technically skilled students in the world. Those graduating students, unfortunately, will have to find work in China or India, where manufacturing and technologies related jobs will dominate. Is reciprocity for embracing "foreigners" on a grand scale in those countries similar to those exhibited in the US over the past 2 decades?
More focus needs to be placed on the energy sector (not "alternative"), especially in the Midwest. There are large hydrocarbon deposits under the region that are only now being tapped. If the region will not provide quality engineering candidates to fill these jobs, they will come from other states. This will relegate graduates to the lower paid manufacturing jobs. To put it in perspective, I know from experience that starting salaries in the energy sector are 50% to 100% higher than automotive and basic manufacturing. In addition, even manufacturing firms who service the sector have gross margins that automotive can only dream about. Our company is grossly inefficient, but still has profits well over 40% of annual sales. This is because there is remarkably little competition. This lack of competition has made the oil industry lazy and ignorant of modern, conventional manufacturing practice. If a college produced graduates with strong manufacturing backgrounds, coupled with a few classes in petrol extraction, those students could name their price upon graduation. It might also allow the school to garner support from oil sector majors, providing funding for future growth and international recognition.
hands-on approach, team work, global issues
Software development seems to be absent from your study topic considerations. Interestingly, this seems to be an area that is also lacking in the skill set of many manufacturing engineers.
As educators, we have to fight the pressure from industry for more specialized degrees and training for our students. In an environment of continual change and technology development, attempting to try to keep up with the latest and greatest laboratory equipment and manufacturing processes is a losing proposition. We are obsolete before we have even started. Rather focus on the principles and practices that are timeless in manufacturing such as system efficiency, leverage points, strategic buffers, integrated product development, and rapid prototyping. Teach manufacturing principles, not operational skill sets, except at the most fundamental level such as joining, forming, separating, finishing, etc.
Graduating engineers that have the ability to educate themselves is a top priority. Rapid technological change is the norm. To this end open-ended projects are a method to train young engineers to not only develop the traditional skills needed for engineers but also bring themselves up to speed in new areas.
There is no alternative to students graduating with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of engineering sciences, and there is no way to teach everything everyone needs to know to be qualified for practice in any industry or company. Consequently, one of the most practical lessons students need to graduate with is an awareness that learning can never stop. Good educators inspire their students to continue to learn while they apply what they have learned in their past. Awareness of the need to continuously ask themselves, "what else do I need to understand better?" is one of the greatest ways to prepare them for whatever they will encounter regardless of the job roles they find themselves in.
Country wide, we need a balance of appropriate topics, methods, level of education and knowledge. We don't want to put "all of our eggs in one basket."
Internships and experiential learning are of the greatest benefits to the students.
Hands on focus so the Mfg Engr students can hit the ground running when they go to industry. A good process background with some hands on practical skills are a must.
Material Science, Processing & Production Methods
Undergraduate students, Freshman to Seniors
Automation - where is its place in today's and future manufacturing environment
Decoration methods - basics of painting, vacuum metalizing, etc.
Co-op programs to enable on the job training to compliment class room learning."
Employers place a high value on individuals who can scope, create a plan for a project and then execute that plan on time and on budget. This is difficult to teach and most often learned through experience. Most students can manage their projects, course work, and classes with little to no formal planning system or time investment. Environments should be created in the class room where they fail or feel pressured highly if they are not able to scope/plan/do in an effective and timely manner.
Major emphasis should be on "GREEN." Youth are very interested in improving the world. We use "Green" as an synonym for improving the environment reducing energy, or carbon and supporting sustainability. The President and economic pundits say the future is green. That means the future is manufacturing as most Green jobs end up in manufacturing or related technologies. The majority of courses should incorporate some 'green' component. showing how material science is green, thermodynamics is green, additive manufacturing is green etc etc.
Colleges need to align the world of academia to better fit the world of business/manufacturing. E.G. Semesters do not represent timing in business. Business does not take off summers or Christmas breaks or spring breaks.
Manufacturing processes and design should be mandatory for ME's as well. A lot of outsourced manufacturing could be brought back with a better understanding of design methodology, material, and manufacturing processes (all of which tie back to the cost to produce an item). "Should we try harder to make this plastic assembly 1 piece so it can be made down the road? Na, labor is free in china, plus tooling is 1/10th of the cost, let's just outsource it." Conversations I have seen time and time again. Also, students need to be exposed to all of the manufacturing that is in our region. There is a ridiculous amount of advanced capabilities here that nobody knows about.
While I did not get a systems approach education, I think it is important to truly understand the impact of the entire system when attacking problems.
It is tough today to teach what is needed in manufacturing curriculum having general education requirements covering nearly one-half of the number of hours taken by the student.
We believe in students working in labs, working in teams and putting theory to work, internships. We accomplish this via a number of ways of teaching--ranging from the traditional way to team teaching.
Education Methods - Traditional classroom instruction with drill on key concepts
We need to teach things that are applicable. Cutting edge technologies and methodologies. Liberal education is useless and detracts from time which could be better spent on learning things which will help students contribute to society.
Focus on project work instead of heavy doses of homework. Homework should be given to students to develop the necessary tools to complete the project work. Looking back on my education I feel like a lot of the book work; although necessary, was excessive in the form of homework. I learned a lot by doing homework and applying it in the lab.
Manufacturing performance models, quality engineering, project management
Mechatronics needs to be taught. The electro-mechanic-computer controlled mechanisms transcend all of our industries, from the food and bottling industry to metal removal and joining to the process industries..."
Include international opportunities, hybrid teaching, management and social skills for graduate level.
Manufacturing enterprises need a full spectrum of knowledge from materials to design to manufacturing processes to automation to tooling to material handling to management to economics. Smart spot solutions are nice but do not promote competitiveness.
a module based education (< 1 credit each module) would provide a way to implement an "as needed" education to avoid so much duplication in the curriculum.
Most curricula at colleges/universities needs to be upgraded, but difficult to do without proper equipment.
Educational support for manufacturing must change. For much too long we have been focused on the "how" when we should be focusing on "why". If we/they understand "why" then we/they can determine "how". With out "why" we are entrenched in a work force society culture wherein most learn only from repetitive methodology that yields stagnation, excessive plant downtime, and upward spiraling overhead costs that we (population and USA business) can ill afford. If we/they understand the basic laws of our universe and we bring back education based on promoting analytical analysis, success as a nation will quickly be achieved. We as a society must concentrate on education, knowledge, reasoning, common sense (application of the laws), and performance rather than personality if we are to ever gain back our position as a world leader in business and manufacturing. Henry Ford a very wise man pretty much said; "There is much more to owning and operating a business in this great country than just the pursuit of profit. There will be times when the welfare of our nation will require some sacrifices from the wealthy as well as the working class people in order to prevent total collapse of our system." We are in one of those times and part of the "fix" is to return our educational system back to what and where it once was; "At the top spot as the unquestionable educational leader of the world." No longer can we afford to settle for "middle of the road".
In my opinion, it is highly critical that institutions of higher learning prepare graduates who are exceptional problem solvers and innovators. As an educator at a research university, these two components are an integral force for students to have a competitive advantage over the global peers.
I had only taken a few classes under the manufacturing curriculum as electives (mechanical being my emphasis), but in my experience at a manufacturing plant, I see lean manufacturing techniques and advanced processes in order to take human error out of the equation as much as possible as being important to learn. Knowledge of Six Sigma quality processes is also a valuable tool to have learned before entering the workforce. Also, the of recycling and reusing materials has begun to emerge as the industry strives to reduce their environmental impact; the processes and methodology of reusing discarded materials and waste may be beneficial for tomorrow's engineer.
DFMA knowledge is essential for knowing how to design things that can be produced in a competitive environment. Without neglecting basic production methods, insight to newer technologies, automation and advanced processes is needed in order to be future-oriented in a First World economy. Manufacturing engineering-oriented programs are needed in balance with heavy focus on product engineering. Graduate programs need to include depth in manufacturing that is not provided in undergraduate curricula, as a necessary complement to options in advanced research.
Add focus on how to lead/manage a team of people, sustainability, new technologies (e.g. electric car batteries), lean manufacturing
Appendix B - Industry Interaction Comments
Co-op programs are essential to getting qualified engineers
It is important for students to interact with industry outside everyday student life. Not only should students be participating in co-op but they should have exposure to the people in industry where the coursework and topics are put into practice. There should never be a divide between academics and "workplace", they should keep each other in check but also help each other grow. Life from the start of college to the end at retirement should always be a blend of academics and work.
Internships or co-op experiences are both the students and faculty's window into current industry. Students should not be handed off to industry supervisors without faculty involvement. The ideal internship for the student, the employer and the faculty would be a student with a faculty mentor working together on tasks supervised by the employer. Treat the internship like an independent study taught in the real world. The employer gets real benefit, the student is assured of a good learning experience and the faculty member sees real problems and gains real industry experience and contacts.
Don't expect or encourage internship work to be applying bleeding edge techniques. These opportunities are rare, just as they are in real industry work. Most industry is bread and butter engineering applying basics to ongoing process/product development and improvement. Those bleeding edge projects are usually handed to consultants (external or internal) and recognized as long shots, often not really expected to pan out. The real critical work is put in the hands of engineers that focus on getting the job done with what they have at hand.
Industry and government need to consider long term strategies for the growth of manufacturing. Not enough is being done in Washington. How many Senators and Congressmen are ready to push a Manufacturing Agenda with a vision aimed at 2030 or 2040?
We lack a strong voice for manufacturing in Washington.
We also lack forceful leadership (champions from industry) to promote the interests of manufacturing. We do not have a recognized manufacturing industry leader, such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, to help influence policy and the national direction.
Local companies provide projects for teams of students.
Excellent co-op and internship opportunities.
New employees able to find creative solutions using new technologies and working with teams
Engineers will need a broader skill set beyond their particular field i.e. mechanical engineers will need to be knowledgeable about controls and electrical interface and work on a multifunctional team.
Materials will be playing a much bigger role in the future.
Despite continuous talk of healthcare cuts, no one can deny the fact the there will be more elderly people in this country than ever before for the next 30 years. There will always be a need for resourceful and talented engineers with the ability to create products up to quality specification in this field and at the same time minimizing cost.
Industry interaction is of utmost importance. It ties theoretical concepts and learnings to what is happening in industry today.
Industry sponsored projects, industry visits or tours, internships all give invaluable knowledge for students.
I would like to see colleges form relationships with large companies in the region and perhaps beyond. The make-up of the companies hiring students seems to drive the educational focus. To increase opportunities for students, it would be nice to have easier access to large companies.
Industry and education partnerships should be strong and include a true collaboration. Universities and colleges need to work with industry to develop curriculum that address the needs of the 21st C workforce. On the same note, industry must work closely and provide assistance to high schools and higher education through student co-ops; internships; and the use and donation of equipment whenever possible
Automotive, shipbuilding, heavy equipment manufacturing. The future is biotechnology, nanotechnology, biomedical, industrial automation to name few.
Manufacturing educator should be closely related industries to understand their needs and feel their pains.
Huge growth area in the future will environmental sustainability, reducing landfill tonnage and material recovery from landfills.
Industry should provide students with flexible learning environments where young engineers will be continuously challenged by an escalating degree of difficulty. Exposure to customer responses would be highly beneficial because that is the point where manufacturing engineers must expand their thinking to a business cause/effect approach.
Industry simply needs motivated self learning engineers. That is weighed more heavily in interviews at my company than any specific skill sets. Currently the manufacturing community wants to hire contract engineers for 2 - 6 months prior to full time employment. They don't want to hire consultants that know specific skills, only eager self learning individuals with a technical background that can be taught. Industry is still slow to commit to additional hires. Commonly in interviews performed at my company we want to know what projects the student has done simply to gauge the level of understanding or roles in the team. If they are aware of less than 50% of the specifics to a team project because it ""wasn't their job in the team""... the business department might want them.
Trends I have seen are less specific roles that require many hats from hands on, mechanical, electrical, controls, statistics, customer interaction, some quality control, and a significant amount of validation and machine capability analysis.
Industry needs to step up and be a voice for education.
continue to work with industry for support, looking for high energy, responsible, driven people, good communication skills is extremely important
Companies need good, impartial information to aid planning and decision making. Information such as material and equipment sources and evaluation criteria for the materials and equipment. Also need to be kept aware of governmental rules changes.
Co-op and internships are invaluable. All colleges and universities should have a three semester rotation for students to work in industry. Students should not be required, or allowed to, take classes during these semesters. Employers can provide a much more in-depth experience with students on the job, all day, every day. The reality is that we have deadlines and if I cannot meet a deadline because the student is part time, I will schedule the intern with less demanding work and they will not learn as much.
Professors can also benefit from working in the industry on a regular basis. It will keep them grounded to the needs of industry. This would allow them to gather different perspectives of various sectors of the manufacturing world.
Apprenticeships, internships, co-ops are essential and should get some form of tax reliefs/incentives. Students must be equipped in their early education to understand the nature of the workplace and parts of business, economics, management and the importance of the sciences. Again PBL (Problem Based Learning) should be employed from middle-school on with incorporation of industry visits and presentations in the classrooms.
Industry needs to be an integral partner in order to ensure that students are focusing on the areas of highest need for future growth.
More experience is better. Encourage underclassmen to get summer jobs in industry. Even working on the floor you get an understanding of the manufacturing environment.
Strong internship program with industry; pursuing automotive to a greater degree, as well as aviation, quality assurance, additive and lean mfg.
Very little going on right now - needs to increase
Industry needs to be a better supporter of education. Most businesses are simply a sponge. Most have completely eliminated apprenticeships while others use internships as cheap labor rather than being a strong partner in the education process.
Use industry partners to allow process projects, and internship/coop opportunities
Until our so-called "American"-based industries reroute manufacturing and technological facilities back to the US, discussion of education offering introductory, intermediate, or advanced technical skills training of any nature is almost irrelevant.
I think that industry should be more involved with universities in student education by providing more opportunities for projects, internships and co-ops.
Oil and natural gas will continue to be highly profitable. Automotive will make more of a comeback once the glut of competitors is reduced (which may never happen). Aerospace, raw material processing, and natural resource extraction are good places to be based on what I hear from friends.
industry-academia partnerships, internships, scholarships and equipment donations, participation of industrial professional in curriculum development
Left to their own devices, industry will embrace the latest perceived trend and tell education that it needs X today and Y tomorrow. Education must reinforce the teaching of basic knowledge that is timeless and incorporate it into a manufacturing based curriculum that hold student's interests and provides them the mean to become continuous learners.
Lean flexible companies will survive the others will decline.
Industry partners need to see themselves as extensions of the learning process, and the laboratories in which the lessons from the classroom turn into practical understanding. I would love to see coordinated interaction between students, their academic advisers, and industry professionals on a very personal level that tailors internship and coop experiences to provide opportunities to apply what has recently been taught, while providing insights to what they will learn next.
Extremely important. Industry needs to do a better job of defining the job skills it sees necessary in their specific industries and the educational community needs to develop techniques to respond much faster to these needs than it has done in the past.
More former manufacturing types need to work with the industry and universities to promote manufacturing practices.
Industry sponsored projects are the way to go. It is a win-win for both parties involved. The students get to interact with the engineers and practices from industry while the industry team gets to have cheap engineering work performed and see if they would like to hire the graduates when they are done!
Internships and Independent Studies.
Industry needs: hands-on, ability to trouble shoot, and not afraid to get their hands dirty.
Future trends: less money is provided to the education/university and so less qualified instructors are being hired or not being replaced because we can't find qualified candidates; this is going to have a drastic impact on manufacturing.
Positive reporting on America's manufacturing future - it does still exist!
Better marketing on the opportunities and needs within manufacturing
Government intervention to create a level playing field with our trading partners - doesn't need to be slanted, just fair.
Traditional factory assembly work is quickly being outsourced to low cost countries. US manufactures need to automate processes to compete on costs with other countries. High value should be place on the ability to create highly automated processes.
Secondary would be the low volume high complexity/value manufacturing, like aircraft. the ability to layout manage and control this environment for the maximum Value add per person.
The greatest need is for fully integrated students. Not just book smart or high scores but problem solvers and team builders. This can be taught through project based learning techniques and having students do a community service as well as a technical final project
MFGET (Manufacturing Engineering Technology) Education must be tied to what industry is doing and in come cases sitting the stage of what should be done in industry.
Industry interaction is crucial. One thing that I think would be excellent, is to bring vendors of various technologies in for lunch and learn sessions with the students (robotic vendors, controls, pneumatics, etc.) This is beneficial, not only for the student’s education of current technologies, but also for the vendors who will be setting themselves up future customers.
More emphasis on lean manufacturing. Schools need to find a professor who has worked in industry using lean concepts and teach them to the students. The teaching needs to take a "go and see" approach.
American Industry interaction with Community Schools must improve in order for this country to stay competitive with the rest of the world. Incentives from government to assist companies with Internships and co-ops would be a great help if it becomes part of the educational cycle... not just when the economy is in a weak condition.
Be open to new creative projects
Build meaningful public private collaborative joint research programs
industry seems to "retrain" graduates, on the job training etc., it would be nice to streamline this school-to-work transition.
Industry needs to look at educational institutions as an investment
Industry must get back to basics, quality, personnel qualification, certification, accountability, and performance.
With the global advancement of manufacturing, the criticality of advanced manufacturing methods and processes in the US in imperative in order for the US to maintain a competitive advantage over our global competitors and retain employment within the US.
It is important to interact with industries in order to expose students to some of the real-world problems that they will be solving upon entering the workforce. But it is not just solving problems alone; they must learn and have the ability to interact with all those who may be involved in the process of solving the problem (i.e., project managers, assembly personnel, purchasing, etc.). The manufacturing industry is very dynamic and much emphasis is put on reducing costs/overhead while still being able to produce quality products. The engineers of tomorrow may be required to wear many hats because of this dynamism.
Industries need to effectively communicate to top academic administrators their priorities and needs in terms of graduate knowledge and skill sets. They also need to provide summer internship opportunities for faculty, and applied research opportunities that for promotion/tenure are comparable to the perceived merits of basic research.
Appendix C - Other Comments
The US needs to create and implement a national marketing strategy that is shown on public TV; the internet; social media that promotes advanced manufacturing and the great career paths available (including well paying jobs)
bioenergy, sustainability, environmental issues are main concerns.
Need to focus on technology differentiation - advanced mfg methods, technological leaps that can't be matched by India and China. Companies will outsource to developing countries whenever possible to maximize profits. Students, engineers, and educators should focus on creating capabilities these countries don't have, in order to force companies to keep work in the US if they want to have access to those capabilities.
Focus more coursework on the practical, hands-on work. Engineers who develop the need to get their hands dirty, to prove their work by prototyping, and to be involved with the whole process are the ones who do the best in the manufacturing world.
There is an increased need for 'real' broad-based education and learning experiences to equip future populations with adequate skills to accommodate and adapt to the workplace and societies of the future. The implied focus on 'special' education for 'Manufacturing' is a distraction from the primary objective of creating an educated and 'futures-competent' society.
The 'Manufacturing' community is spread across so many disciplines and professional organizations that between the professional groups, the disciplines, and the fossilized accreditation requirements the real educational needs of society are likely being neglected. There is need to eliminate these 'artificial' historic and academic silos in order to afford the development in the future of effective curiosity-driven and truly scientifically aware problem solvers.
Colleges and Universities should be partnering with elementary and secondary schools in order to better prepare students for the rigors of studying engineering at the University level.
I work with some recent graduates. The ability to write clearly is not being taught at many schools. I wish someone would actually teach parts of speech, diagramming sentences, and grammar. Technical writing is not enough.
It's all about perception. We should all make our students wear white lab coats, carry clip boards, and eat off the floor. This would do much to dispel the perception that manufacturing is a dirty, dead-end career.
1. Sustainable economic growth is the engine of progress in a society. That is only possible when goods people want are produced at an affordable cost. 2. Creative people doing meaningful work that benefits others as well as themselves are a positive influence on communities, states, nations and beyond
Our campus spends much time, effort & money in helping manufacturing/industry find qualified applicants for free; may be these companies should be supporting the education of their future work force and paying the department who they hire students in (service fee).
Tax payers need to be aware that college professors (in Wisconsin) are not be paid enough based on the contribution that they are providing. The public needs to be educated about the needed support/funding - students with an undergraduate degree make more than tenured faculty. Technology Departments are not going to be able to continue if this trend continues.
High schools need to emphasize manufacturing opportunities - trade schools and post-college opportunities - how many welding classes exist today? Local schools and businesses should set up more ""field trips"" with students to expose them early - inspire them early.
Go into the future with a strong Green emphasis.
I wish this committee well in what they are doing. MFGET educational programs must change and what you are doing will help.
Need less emphasis on social skills (team work) and more rigorous training in fundamental concepts.
The economy can't be based on just design and development. At the end of the day the USA needs to have the know how to make something. These other countries who are doing our high end manufacturing are learning quickly and catching up. Engineers in the USA don't understand how to design products so that they can be built.