A Well-Trained Workforce Is Manufacturing's Future

We need to rethink how we prepare people for the workforce.
Oct 23, 2020 11:00 AM ET
Campaign: Empower Makers
Photo: Stanley Black & Decker

Originally published by IndustryWeek

By Mark Maybury

New technologies are transforming dull and repetitive jobs into those requiring analytic and problem-solving skills. Manufacturing is on the front lines of this change – electricians are becoming digital electricians, material handlers are becoming robotically enabled, and assembly line workers are becoming robotics programmers.

To train people for these new roles, we need to invest more in re-skilling programs, which many companies are doing, but not well enough. For example, Deloitte reports that only 17% of companies have made “meaningful investments” in reskilling initiatives related to AI, one of the technologies shaping the future of work. We need to go beyond providing access to digital learning resources and invest in programs that provide hands-on experience.

Stanley Black & Decker, for example, has partnered with companies like Ready Robotics and Tulip to automate repetitive tasks at several of our plants, creating dedicated programs to re-skill all of our workers who were previously doing that work. These employees now work side-by-side with collaborative robots, becoming programmers supervising their robots and being freed up to spend more time finding ways to further increase productivity.

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