Bold Bets: Advancing Manufacturing into the Future

Hosted by The Atlantic magazine with Siemens acting as underwriters, Bold Bets is an event making its way across the nation to discuss local and national efforts to improve manufacturing skills and the workforce as well as look at what advancements will set the stage for the future of manufacturing.

Many of these advancements were introduced by Eric Spiegel, president of Siemens USA, who spoke of the partnerships between companies and cities like Chicago to encourage careers in manufacturing to youth and the current workforce. Along with efforts to increase STEM and trade skills in public education, Spiegel mentioned how “software is really at the heart of it [manufacturing].” It is the industry sector that produces the most data, William King of UI Labs said, but this only strengthens the need for a stronger industry workforce to hone the “knowledge workers” that will read and generate the data.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel went straight to the heart of how to prepare these knowledge workers and bring the skills trades back to the United States by beginning to look at manufacturing as a career. “The days of just making widgets are over” and we need to stop looking at manufacturing as only a job because now it is a career,” said Emanuel. Efforts like the Skills Initiative apprenticeship program, Chicago public school and college tuition waivers for academic performance, Siemens STEM Middle Skill Initiative (more in the upcoming January issue) are paving the way for youth and adults to access the education they need to entered a skilled workforce while encouraging trade careers.

“My concern is that we have a society where we push kids into college that there are not as many skilled trades workers,” Linda Holmes, Senator and Chairperson of the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development in the Illinois State Senate, sums up the importance of encouraging manufacturing industry careers.

In the video below Linda Holmes, Mario Kratsch, and Jorge Ramierz share their final impressions on the continuation and need of Chicago-area skills programs. Look for more content like Bold Bets and manufacturing innovations and training in upcoming issues like the March 2016 Innovations issue and July 2016 Training issue of Electrical Apparatus.

Kristine Weller

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