4 Insights from Global Leaders on Industry 4.0 and the Workforce

Michigan AMHUB by Workforce Working Group
July 14, 2021
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Four exclusive insights on Industry 4.0 and the workforce from the AMHUB Workforce Working group. June 2021.


World Economic Forum’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for Michigan

Workforce Working Group | June 2021

The Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for Michigan is a multi-stakeholder collaborative ecosystem focused on positioning Michigan as a global leader for advanced manufacturing, established jointly by Automation Alley and the World Economic Forum. The Michigan AMHUB is part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Network of AMHUBs.

The Global Network of AMHUBs uses the Forum's platform to aggregate and accelerate regional efforts to adapt to the future of advanced manufacturing and production and highlight key regional case examples on the global stage, while creating a feedback loop wherein best practices from around the world are conveyed to the regional level to further amplify the impact potential of this network. By working together, new and existing players can enable their regional ecosystems to innovate to remain competitive—something no company, organization or entity can do alone.

The June 2021 Michigan AMHUB Workforce meeting focused on addressing expected post-pandemic manufacturing labor challenges as the U.S. economy reopens, adjusts to hybrid learning and workplace environments, and rapidly evolving technologies.

Below are four key takeaways.

Market Uptick Requires Staffing Up:

According to a recent survey by the Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA), 200 respondents in the auto supply community revealed that labor availability was among the greatest threats to industry over the next 12 months. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as manufacturing facilities shut down, we saw a very low need for talent. Fast forward to the second quarter of 2021, there is a much more competitive need for talent, not only in advanced manufacturing and technology, but across multiple industries. The need for talent will continuing to grow as we look beyond the pandemic—

and opportunities are rich. Attracting students to exciting opportunities in manufacturing, focusing on STEM and skilled trades, and connecting students and workers to jobs virtually will all be critical hurdles to overcome as a state and a nation.

All Fields are STEM Fields:

According to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2030 Vision, by 2026, science and engineering jobs are predicted to grow by 13% compared with 7% growth in the overall U.S. workforce. Yet, even as STEM competencies have become more essential, U.S. K-12 mathematics and science scores are well below those of many other nations and have stagnated. In addition, NSF notes that women and minorities remain inadequately represented in science and engineering relative to their proportions in the U.S. population. To remain globally competitive, it is imperative the current and future workforce understands the changing dynamics of work brought on by Industry 4.0. Today, all skilled trades are STEM fields, and all manufacturing workers will require STEM education.

Industry + Education is a Formula for Success:

Early engagement with and awareness of manufacturing jobs is critical to the success of the manufacturing talent pipeline. Industry and academia should work together to reimage manufacturing jobs as high-tech and highly skilled. To produce world-class talent, STEM curriculum must be broadly implemented into K-12 classrooms. In addition, industry and academia must collaborate at all levels of education and adjust curriculum based on the ever-evolving needs of manufacturing. Imbedding classroom projects that are industry related and reaching students early with internships and apprenticeships is a win-win proposition for U.S. manufacturing. However, these practices will not be enough to ensure our nation’s continued prosperity. New education models will be required to keep pace with the rapidly changing Industry 4.0 ecosystem. This should include agile development, stackable certificates, educational boot camps and offering short-term, intense training designed to lead directly to employment in manufacturing fields.

Don’t Count Out Adult Learners:

Digital transformation requires the up-skilling and re-skilling of the current workforce, while also providing educational opportunities to underserved populations. The future social and economic success of our state and nation will be dependent on our ability to bring a diverse workforce of people from differing backgrounds to better understand STEM and how to implement it every day. According to leaders in higher education, an estimated 690,000 adults in the Detroit metropolitan area have some college education but no degree. Industry and academia must work together to provide these individuals, who could be missing as little as one credit, debt forgiveness and other avenues to foster learning, degree completion and job placement.  

Workforce Working Group Participants:

Clay Phillips, SRI International

Cynthia Hutchison, Automation Alley

Nicole Kampe, Automation Alley

Dan Friz, Sharp Tooling Solutions

Dan Garrison, Accenture

Dan Stewart, Automation Alley

Dr. Ora Pescovitz, Oakland University

Emily Krawcxyk, Sharp Tooling Solutions

Greg Melling, Unity3d

Gregor Reischle, TÜV SÜD

Jake Hall, Feyen Zylstra

Joseph Petrosky , Oakland Community College

Kyoung-yun Joseph Kim, Wayne State University

Lisa Arafune, Additive Manufacturing Coalition

Ron J Stefanski, Centric Learning

Roy Barnes, University of Michigan

Scott Ellsworth, Accenture

Scott Feldman, Accenture

Wayne Thibodeau, Oakland University

Michigan AMHUB by Workforce Working Group
Michigan AMHUB by Workforce Working Group

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