What does manufacturing mean to America? While there may be no quantitative right answer to that question, in my opinion, manufacturing is the creation of new jobs, the empowering of individuals, and teamwork that helps make dreams a reality. Manufacturing has long been wrongly perceived as a dirt and grime industry that lacks the appeal necessary to build and grow a strongly educated workforce, vital to our nation’s industrial and economic growth.

Recently, I watched a video released by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) titled, “What Manufacturing Means to America.” The video addresses the current state of the manufacturing industry and provides fresh insight into utilizing the skill and talent of America’s workforce. It shows that with the right education and skills, manufacturing can be the key to a better future and making dreams come true.

In a previous article “Attracting the Next-Generation Workforce Starts With You,” I pointed out an alarming figure from a 2013 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that there are approximately 240,000 manufacturing job openings unfilled. Lack of education necessary to fill open positions along with misconceptions of the manufacturing industry have left the industry searching for qualified candidates to help fulfill the next generation manufacturers to fuel America’s growth.

For manufacturers, market conditions in today’s economy are changing at an unprecedented rate. Regardless of size, many companies are feeling pressure from:

  • Increased global competition
  • Faster product cycles
  • Rapid changes in demand
  • Reduced access to capital

As one man stated in the NAM video, much of today’s workforce is unaware of the amount of technology involved in manufacturing today, when in fact, technology is the key to attracting a younger generation to the manufacturing industry. With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturers are already benefitting from an interconnected, networked factory environment where sensors, robots, machines, and more can all be networked.

We’re on the verge of turning a big corner in America’s manufacturing industry. It’s a matter of finding the right workers who are excited for the future of production, innovation and helping to intelligently connect all parts of the value chain.

To find out more information about how Cisco can help your business, visit our manufacturing solutions page.


Dan Kern

Lead Marketing Manager

Manufacturing & Energy Industry Sector