The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM and SAS kicked off MFG Day 2022 at SAS world headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, where manufacturing, technology and political leaders highlighted the transformation in the industry and the promise of manufacturing careers.
The CEO: The session began with a welcome from SAS CEO Jim Goodnight, who spoke about manufacturing innovation and the way that cutting-edge technology is creating a more resilient industry and a more productive future.
- “We are committed to help teach and reskill the workforce for the demands of modern manufacturing, from data scientists and process engineers to robotic technicians,” said Goodnight. “There is great potential for growth in progress, especially when you bring analytics knowledge and tech experience to this critical sector.”
The governor: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the group and spoke about the value of workforce development.
- “When I talk with CEOs about coming to North Carolina or expanding in North Carolina, their top three issues right now are workforce, workforce and workforce,” said Gov. Cooper. “They know that they need this skilled, diverse help in their businesses.”
The NAM: NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons spoke about the skills gap in manufacturing and urged attendees—including students and young people—to see the opportunities for a rewarding career in the manufacturing industry.
- “If we don’t find the talent that we need to keep shop floors running and research and development moving, we’re going to lose out on productivity, on innovation, on growth,” said Timmons. “And this could cost America’s edge in global economic leadership. We cannot let that happen. We have to redouble our commitment to ensure that that does not happen.”
Transforming the workforce: The first panel of the day included a conversation with manufacturing leaders—moderated by Timmons and including experts from Deere & Company, Mack Trucks, SAS and Johnson Controls—discussing how technology and analytics continue to transform the industry and workforce. The conversation touched on:
- The way that companies are using advanced analytics to improve their products and processes in the modern age;
- The need for engagement programs and partnerships with professional organizations and school systems to help change perceptions of manufacturing; and
- The opportunity that manufacturing provides to solve big problems and make the world a better place.
Recruiting manufacturers: The day continued with a “creators” conversation moderated by MI President and Executive Director Carolyn Lee, which included panelists from SAS, ABB Inc. and Mack Trucks. The discussion covered:
- The dynamic nature of the industry—and how the sector innovated and adapted to new realities during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- The importance of networking, education and inclusive programming to attracting a diverse workforce; and
- The extraordinary range of careers in manufacturing—from sales, to operations, to HR and beyond—and the diverse set of skills and backgrounds needed to fill them.
The last word: “Manufacturing careers have a higher impact on local communities than any other sector in the economy,” said Lee. “So, manufacturing’s reach goes far and wide. But it’s not just the people on the plant floor; it’s all of the systems and all of the supports and all of the pieces that come together to support manufacturing.”
Learn more: For more information, and to check out video of the full event, click here.