Sunday, September 13, 2015

Inshoring and the Demand for Technicians

from Jim Stone, Director of the NRCCTE

By now you no doubt have heard or read about "inshoring," the movement of manufacturing jobs back to the United States. Growth in this area has been slow but steady, with the Labor Department estimating that 320,000 new positions opened up in March.

Part of what is interesting about jobs like these is that many require STEM skills, but not necessarily STEM degrees. Needed skills include programming and operating computer-controlled tools, maintaining and repairing sophisticated machinery (which require workers to have a strong understanding of mechanics and electronics), and doing specialized types of welding. 

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article (warning: subscription required) in which it showed that more than three-quarters of existing workers holding the following jobs have less than an associate's degree:
  • Chemical plant system operators
  • Aircraft structure and systems assemblers
  • Model makers
  • Computer machine tool programmers
  • Chemical equipment operators and tenders
  • Tool and die makers
High-quality CTE programs in high schools and community colleges teach the kinds of skills needed to thrive in these middle-skill STEM and manufacturing jobs.

As always, I enjoy hearing from you. Please email me at with your thoughts. 

James R. Stone III

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