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STEM and the U.S. Manufacturing Conundrum

The Conundrum

In my most recent blog “U.S. manufacturing: is it sustainable?“, I referenced an article about how U.S. manufacturing has been leading the economy out of the depths of the Great Recession.  The authors put forward a thesis with supporting data that suggest Americans believe the manufacturing industry is the basis for wealth creation and is fundamental to a sustained and successful U.S. economy.

The rub is that only 30% of Americans said they have or would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.

Why such a discrepancy? An answer to this question is not simple. However, I do believe we must seek that answer and address the gap, if the U.S. is to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Being an engineer myself--a manufacturing and controls engineer no less--I know the first and most essential step to a solution is making sure we’ve defined the problem well.

A 2009 survey by the American Society for Quality, as reported on manufacturing.net, helps to shine a light on our problem.

According to the survey, the top three reasons why kids aren’t interested in engineering:

  • Kids don’t know much about engineering (44 percent).
  • Kids prefer a more exciting career than engineering (30 percent).
  • They don’t feel confident enough in their math or science skills (21 percent) to be good at it. This is despite the fact that the largest number of kids ranked math (22 percent) and science (17 percent) as their favorite subjects.

Survey findings on the adult side:

  • Only 20 percent of parents have encouraged or will encourage their child(ren) to consider an engineering career.
  • The vast majority of parents (97 percent) believe that knowledge of math and science will help their children have a successful career.

So, while American children and adults both feel that math and science are important (even enjoyable), there is an ironic disconnect (cognitive dissociation?) between recognizing the importance and committing to pursue a career in engineering and manufacturing.

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Boeing Delivers First 787 Dreamliner. Cisco Delivers Solutions to Boeing. Congratulations Both!

September 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm PST

Congratulations to Boeing on shipping it’s first 787 Dreamliner to ANA (All Nippon Airways). The world has been waiting and US Manufacturing has delivered. But it’s not just US Manufacturing -- suppliers as far away as Australia, Italy, Japan and Russia, to name but a few countries have been working with Boeing Engineers to bring the airplane to market -- and using Cisco or Cisco Partner technologies to do so!

The video, courtesy Associated Press’ YouTube Channel, shows the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner Airplane being handed over by Jim Albaugh, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, to ANA’s President and CEO - with a large key!

Jim does talk about the delays -- but it was such a vast undertaking -- and in the ‘old days’ it would have taken a lot longer! There are plenty of Manufacturing improvements that have taken place over the decades that have helped speed things up. Here are three Cisco Solution areas where Cisco and its partners made a difference: Cisco WebEx, Cisco MMVC (Manufacturing Mobile Video Collaboration) Solution, and Cisco Context aware, many using Cisco Unified Industrial Architectures. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 for any manufacturer who wants to know the secrets. Here’s how, and with customer comments to boot

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VMworld 2011 – Day 2 – Daily Blogger Techminute – Cloud Computing

Daily Blogger Techminute is back in Vegas Baby, Vegas!!  This time it’s for VMworld 2011. So far the show has been huge (20,000+ attendees) and past paced with announcements from Cisco, VMware and our partners. The Cisco booth is focused on Cloud/Virtualization, VDI/VXI and Automation, so we thought it would be great to kick off the week with experts in all of those areas.

Our techblogger guests today were:

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Cisco Live 2011 Industrial Intelligence Day Customer feedback – “A Great Success”

July 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm PST

Cisco Live’s first ever “Industrial Intelligence Day” focusing on manufacturing and industrial customer needs was judged a great success according to the feedback  given at the sessions in Las Vegas this week. In an action packed day attendees heard about trends in network convergence between business IT and Industrial plant networks, and how standard Ethernet IP protocols were becoming prevalent in industrial and control networks.

As Master of Ceremonies, I had the pleasure of introducing Alan Cohen, Vice President, Global Public Sector & Industry Solutions. Alan kicked off the day talking about the care-abouts of executives in Manufacturers and how Cisco is addressing them. He used real-life customer examples such as Coca-Cola, General Motors, GE, Continental Tire and Anglo Platinum. Alan expressed how Cisco was helping these customers address the challenges of  Growth, Market Transitions, Innovation, Risk and Goverance.  This set up a good interactive environment for Bryce Barnes and John Parello to introduce Energy and Sustainability for the manufacturing sector. Bryce pointed out that 35% of all energy usage in the world is consumed by manufacturing industry and we added that that figure goes over 50% if you include the transportation and distribution of those manufactured goods and materials.

After watching John Chamber’s Insightful Keynote, delegates returned to hear Paul Didier and Chris Haley (both Cisco) and Gregory Wilcox (Rockwell Automation) talk about the status and trends for wired LANs including resilience and security with a fascinating presentation on Motion from Gregory. That was followed by wireless strategies from David Wolf and Scott Friberg from Cisco talking about wireless innovations and real-world testing where wireless is now deemed appropriate for time critical applications. Then delegates went to the main tent for a thought-provoking session. Read More »

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Cisco Live 2011 Secret Session Codes for Industrial Intelligence Day!

July 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm PST

Many of you have asked me and my team about the session codes for the new Manufacturing Industry Industrial Intelligence day on 12th July 2011 and how to register for the exclusive sessions if you’re attending Cisco Live! So here’s the scoop:

Since many of you have a full conference registration package, you have access to Industrial Intelligence Day as part of your pass. Yes -- we made it possible! You can game the system. We made it easier than Groupon!

You can  sign up for the following 3 sessions on CiscoLive Scheduler at https://www.ciscolive2011.com/scheduler (use your login you received with your confirmation) and just click ‘add to schedule’. 

The great thing is you can now  win an iPAD2 by attending these sessions*

The 3 sessions are:

SIPIAD-1420 -- Improving Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Industrial Applications
SIPIAD-1421 -- Advanced Industrial Networks: Wired, Wireless, Resilient & Precise
SIPIAD-1423 -- Industrial Intelligence Key Note and Panel
These 3 sessions comprise Industrial Intelligence Day (full agenda at http://www.ciscolive.com/us/attendees/solutions/industrial.php?zid=us-home-spot3

Please note that all 3 sessions will all be conveniently held in the same room -- Mandalay Bay F on Tuesday, July 12th, starting with a hosted breakfast at 7 am.  An informal networking hosted lunch is also included as part of the day. Read More »

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