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Education & Workforce
  Data and Reports

Education and Workforce

Research and Reports Main Page

How to attract, develop, and retain current and future talent, plus analysis of the skills gap in manufacturing including the need for greater focus on science and technology education

Featured Reports:

mfg-new-whitehousewhitelineMAKING IN AMERICA:   U.S. Manufacturing Entrepreneurship and Innovation

June 2014
Category: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce

The White House report, Making in America: U.S. Manufacturing Entrepreneurship and Innovation, demonstrates how new game-changing technologies are reducing the cost, increasing the speed, and making it easier for entrepreneurs and manufacturers to translate new ideas into products Made in America.  These new technologies are already having an impact, with the growth rate in manufacturing entrepreneurship at its fastest pace in over 20 years.

Education & WorkforcewhitelineAmerica's Manufacturing Workforce: Make or Buy?
July, 2013
Category: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Education & Workforce, Best Practices

This report is intended to dispel the notion that an adequate supply of skilled employees is beyond the reach of American manufacturers. In fact, there are several choices that American manufacturers can make to ensure a pipeline of talent for the foreseeable future. However, manufacturers must be strategic in their thinking and rigorous in their execution of these options. With that in mind, America’s SMEs can fill their skilled worker gaps before they become insurmountable challenges.


Shale Gas:  A Game Changer for U.S. Manufacturing- July 2014
A country is only as strong as its capacity to build. Managed properly, the availability of low-cost shale gas could catalyze a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing, revitalizing the chemical industry and enhancing the global competitiveness of energy-intensive manufacturing sectors such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass, and food. This report summarizes and expands upon the University of Michigan-sponsored daylong Symposium “Shale Gas: A Game- Changer for American Manufacturing,” held on March 28, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Symposium’s purpose: to explore how the shale gas boom can be used to the best advantage of U.S. manufacturing.
Other Categories:Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations, Sustainability

Missing Makers: How to Rebuild America's Manufacturing Workforce- July 2014
In this report, the Hope Street Group frames the systemic challenges that currently discourage able young people from entering manufacturing career tracks. To do so, they interviewed a select group of American manufacturing employers, high school and college-aged youth, education professionals, and nonprofit organizers. The report shares their stories and synthesizes them into common themes, supported by secondary research.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Education & Workforce,

Manufacturing Since the Great Recession - June 2014
This report provides an overview of the renewed expansion in manufacturing, examining output, international trade, and the labor market. The steady growth across all three of these areas might have seemed like wishful thinking just a few years ago when manufacturing was hit especially hard. Since the last recession, however, manufacturing output and exports have surpassed their pre-recession levels, and employment has begun to grow again for the first time since 1998. Nonetheless, while the manufacturing expansion is robust, it has not been even across manufacturing industries and the states. Other categories: Current State of MFG, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce, Productivity

The 2014 State New Economy Index - June 2014
This paper discusses why America needs a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Part one of the paper makes the case for an innovation-centered national manufacturing policy. It lays out key challenges facing the U.S. manufacturing sector, advances reasons why the nation should care about manufacturing, and sets forth the rationale for an active federal role in fostering manufacturing innovation. Part two of the paper articulates five key principles that should govern the design of the NNMI. Other categories:  Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce

Building a Nation of Makers:  Six Ideas to Accelerate the Innovative Capacity of America's Manufacturing SMEs - June 2014
This report offers innovative, non-partisan, actionable ideas on how to create middle-class manufacturing jobs.  The focus of this report is on six ideas on how to accelerate the innovative capacity of American manufacturing’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Ideas include providing a more flexible education system, certification programs, and access to financing and technology.
Other categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Education & Workforce

Manufacturing Workforce Development Playbook: Preparing for the Manufacturing Renaissance in America - May 2014
The Manufacturing Workforce Development Playbook offers strategies and programs that have been successfully employed by industry, education and government to collaboratively solve the challenges of preparing workers for 21st century careers in manufacturing. Edited by manufacturing workforce authority Keith Campbell, with contributions from over 20 experts, this resource brings together relevant data, case studies and expert insights about educating and training operators, technicians and technologists for America’s manufacturing renaissance.  To view the report, registration is required.  Just complete the form and instantly receive your free copy of the PDF edition. When you hit submit, you’ll have a choice of “opening” or “saving” the file.  Hit save and the PDF downloads directly to where ever your download folder resides.  The PDF file is not e-mailed.
Other categories: Current State of MFG, Global Competitiveness, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce,

The Role of Exports in the United States Economy - May 2014
In his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) as part of a government-wide strategy to promote exports. During the ensuing years, as the U.S. recovered from the economic downturn in the “Great Recession,” the growth in U.S. exports has been one of the major success stories in the U.S. economy. Since 2009, exports have helped pull the U.S. economy out of the devastating recession that occurred between 2007 and 2009. Exports have contributed more to the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) in this recovery than in the previous recovery; have helped support millions of high-paying jobs in the U.S.; and have been responsible for major contributions to the economic performance of many states and metropolitan areas. Moving forward, exports will continue to make important contributions to the U.S. economy and the NEI/NEXT is structured to do more to help U.S. manufacturers, farmers, workers and innovators sell Made-in-America products and services world-wide to the benefit of our economy.
Other categories: Capital & Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations, Productivity

One Small Step for Energy Efficiency: Targeting Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers- January 2014
The manufacturing sector accounts for about a third of primary energy consumed in the United States. This sector is increasingly relied on to generate energy savings to meet efficiency targets set by states and energy utilities. While most of that effort has sought savings from large manufacturers (the 10% of establishments that account for close to 50% of energy use), more energy efficiency programs are beginning to address the needs facing small to medium-sized manufacturers (SMM). This report discusses barriers, opportunities, and solutions to designing energy efficiency programs that result in significant savings from smaller manufacturers.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations, Best Practices, Sustainability

Trends in technology-based Economic Development: Local, State, and Federal Action - January 2014
Investing in activities that support the creation and expansion of high-growth companies and jobs is at the forefront of technology-based economic development (TBED). TBED fosters a climate where new and existing companies that develop technology and continuously innovate will thrive. Understanding the trends that are affecting and influencing TBED can help guide investment priorities for practitioners and policymakers across the nation.  Each year, SSTI takes a look back at the past year’s activities in TBED and examines the environment to illustrate trends and put it all into perspective. This report includes a compilation of examples in thematic areas from across the country.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

2014 Global R&D Funding Forecast - December 2013
While R&D funding isn’t the sole indicator of how a nation, region or industry will perform, it certainly is a fundamental consideration among other factors like science, technology, engineering and mathematics education levels, capital markets, healthcare, infrastructure, property rights and immigration policy. Each section of this report forecasts research and development levels for 2014, closely examining the expected funding for a region or industry. There are many important projections and key findings for each country and industry under discussion.
Other Categories: Innovation, Capital & Cost, Global Competitiveness, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce

The Emerging U.S. Rail Industry: Opportunities to support American manufacturing and spur regional development - November 2013
A number of factors have come together to heighten the importance of rail transit to the U. S. economy. These same factors present new opportunities for domestic manufacturers of rail cars and equipment to benefit, however, historical and structural barriers to seizing these opportunities exist. This paper explores each of these areas in detail and makes recommendations to policy makers on how they might best support a strong and growing domestic supply chain for the rail transit industry.
Other Categories: Innovation, Capital & Cost, Global Competitiveness, Federal/Industry Collaboration,Education & Workforce, Supply Chain

A Clarion Call: A Look Back and a Path Forward - November 2013
The Clarion Call, A Look Back and a Path Forward provides a federal policy “report card” of actions (and lack of actions) since the Council issued a clear and concise agenda to policymakers last year, which included a road map to grow the American economy and included core principles and recommendations critical for the United States’ long term economic growth and job creation.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

ThomasNet Industry Market Barometer®- September 2013's Industry Market Barometer® (IMB) is an annual survey of buyers and sellers of products and services in the industrial market. Respondents are engineers and purchasing agents, business owners and managers, and sales and marketing executives from manufacturers, distributors and service companies.'s® 2013 Industry Market Barometer® (IMB) survey of more than 1,200 manufacturers paints a picture of a sector that is reinventing itself every day. These companies are growing, expecting future growth, hiring, and increasing their production capacity to meet additional demand. More than half (55 percent) of these manufacturers grew in 2012, and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) expect to grow this year. They credit their people, brands, technology, and innovation as the assets that help them continue to compete. Indeed, nearly seven out of ten (67 percent) will introduce new or innovative products/services this year as a growth strategy. This report discusses barriers, opportunities, and solutions to designing energy efficiency programs that result in significant savings from smaller manufacturers.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce, Productivity

Advanced Manufacturing in the American South: An Economic Analysis Supporting Regional Development - September 2013
This report focuses on both the economic and policy analysis associated with advanced manufacturing. The following key conclusions emerge regarding state policy and advanced manufacturing: States play a central role in promoting economic development and industrialization; This is a new era of industrial development for the SGA states; State policy in support of the advanced manufacturing sector must be carefully coordinated with other public and private entities that seek to promote economic development in order to maximize returns for state residents and the business community; A strategy for fostering the growth of advanced manufacturing should be based on carefully developed strategic plans that build on SWOT assessments of state assets and needs and include quantifiable goals and objectives.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Capital & Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

Global Manufacturing: Foreign Government Programs Differ in some Key Respects from those in the United States- August 2013
Over the last decade, the United States lost about one-third of its manufacturing jobs, raising concerns about U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. There may be insights to glean from government policies of similarly-situated countries, which are facing some of the same challenges of increased competition in manufacturing from developing countries. At the request of the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified innovative foreign programs that support manufacturing that may help inform U.S. policy.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Federal & Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory and Policy Recommendations

CUT TO INVEST: Support the Designation of 20 ‘U.S. Manufacturing Universities’ - January 2013
This report urges Congress to establish an initiative to designate 20 institutions of higher education as “U.S. Manufacturing Universities” as part of a needed push to strengthen the position of the United States in the increasingly innovation-driven global economy. Other categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Education & Workforce

The 2012 State New Economy Index - December 2012
This report builds on prior State New Economy Indexes published in 1999, 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2010. Overall, the report uses 26 indicators, divided into five key areas that best capture what is new about the New Economy: 1. Knowledge jobs; 2. Globalization; 3. Economic dynamism; 4. The digital economy; 5. Innovation capacity
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness

2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index - November 2012
This study, gathering data from more than 550 CEOs and senior manufacturing leaders in 2012, is part of a multi-year initiative to better understand the trends creating a hyper-competitive global manufacturing environment. The report examines the highly complex forces driving the future of manufacturing and many of the structural changes reshaping the global economy.  Overall, the study indicates that leading nations are making the paradigm shift towards prioritizing the development of talented and skilled citizens, who are the source of their competitive advantage, and benefits from their manufacturing infrastructures and ecosystems.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Global Competitiveness, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

Leadership Wanted U.S. Public Opinions on Manufacturing - October 2012
This annual research program was created to provide a running view of the U.S. public’s perspectives on manufacturing to supplement the many other research reports and perspectives of economists, policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders that have important points of view relevant to this discussion.
Other Categories: Global Competitiveness, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

2012 Manufacturing Distribution Monitor Report - September 2012
Following a relatively positive year for sales performance and expansion, middle-market manufacturers and distributors are largely optimistic about their own businesses. Yet they are grappling with a variety of challenges that include eroding confidence in economic conditions, struggles with finding a skilled workforce, and uncertainty about government legislation. According to the 2012 McGladrey Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor report, executives of midsize companies find themselves in an uncertain business landscape.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

Report to the President on Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing - July 2012
The report was prepared by the 18-member steering committee of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP). It addresses needs in three broad categories: enabling innovation; securing the talent pipeline; improving the business climate. The recommendations include a call to establish a national network of manufacturing innovation institutes; an emphasis on investment in community college training of the advanced manufacturing workforce; an approach to evaluate platform manufacturing technologies for collaborative investment; a plan to reinvigorate the image of manufacturing in America; and proposals for trade, tax, regulatory, and energy policies that would level the global playing field for domestic manufacturers.
Other Categories: Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Capital & Cost, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

Manufacturing and Logistics 2012 National Report - June 2012
State by state grades on areas such as productivity and innovation, human capital, global costs, diversification, venture capital, manufacturing, and logistics.
Other Categories: Innovation, Capital & Cost, Global Competitiveness, Productivity

The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs - May 2012
The U.S. Commerce Department released a report, entitled “The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs,” an analysis of wages and benefits of manufacturing workers, which provides fresh evidence that manufacturing jobs encourage innovation and support economic security for America’s middle class. The report finds that total hourly compensation for manufacturing workers is 17 percent higher than for non-manufacturing workers. It also shows that manufacturing jobs are becoming more skilled and heavily reliant on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and that manufacturing is responsible for 70 percent of our private sector R&D, 90 percent of our patents, and 60 percent of our exports.
Other Categories: Innovation

Worse Than the Great Depression: What the Experts Are Missing About American Manufacturing Decline - March 2012
Debunks widely held myths about productivity gains, restructuring, and a manufacturing renaissance and reveals the stark reality of a historic decline in U.S. competitiveness and unprecedented deindustrialization. The report explains what the United States is experiencing is not merely another boom and bust cycle but a structural decline more akin to what Britain experienced in the 1960s and 1970s when it lost its industrial leadership.
Other Categories: Global Competitiveness, Capital & Cost, Productivity

Make An American Manufacturing Movement - December 2011
The key challenges and solutions outlined in Make: An American Manufacturing Movement appear below: 1.    Challenge: Fueling Investments in the Innovation and Production Economy from Start-up to Scale-up  Solution: Enact fiscal reform, transform tax laws, regulations and other structural costs to spur investment, ramp up production, capitalize growth companies, and create skilled jobs  2.    Challenge: Expanding U.S. Exports, Reducing the Trade Deficit, Increasing Market Access and Responding to Foreign Governments Protecting Domestic Producers Solution: Create fair and open global markets for U.S. goods and services to reduce the trade deficit and increase exports as a percentage of GDP 3.    Challenge: Harnessing the Power and Potential of American Talent to Win the Future Skills Race Solution: Prepare the Next Generation of Innovators, Researchers and Highly-Skilled Workers
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce,

Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation - November 2011
This report from the McKinsey Global Institute, presents a clear view of how manufacturing contributes to the global economy today and how it will probably evolve over the coming decade.  Findings in the report include:  manufacturing's changing role, manufacturing is not monolithic, and the new dynamic phase of manufacturing.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Best Practices, Supply Chain

Riding the New Wave in Manufacturing to More Jobs and a Better Economy - November 2011
Time is of the essence. Because longer-term initiatives require sustained public support and political will, we need to demonstrate the potential of manufacturing to create jobs now. Over the longer term, however, the U.S. hold on manufacturing must rely not just on a tenuous advantage in factor costs, but on better quality control, customer responsiveness and inter-firm efficiency. 
Other Categories:Current State of MFG, Innovation, Capital & Cost, Education & WorkforceProductivity

U.S. Manufacturing Jobs: Where Companies Are Hiring - November 2011
This assessment of web-based job advertisements, co-authored by Lauren Gilchrist, Ken Poole, and Mark White, examines the characteristics of anticipated manufacturing hiring during the first half of 2011. Manufacturers sought workers for a variety of opportunities, such as: Nine percent of web-advertised job openings in manufacturing during the first six months of 2011 were production-related. These openings accounted for just over 60,000 of the manufacturing sector’s nearly 669,000 job openings advertised online between January and June 2011.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Global Competitiveness

2012 Facts About Manufacturing - October 2011
The 2012 Edition of the Facts of Manufacturing is a collection of the key facts and figures that define the state of the U.S. manufacturing industry.  The report provides 65 figures that show the importance of the manufacturing sector and challenges that our industry faces.  The first section of the report focuses on the importance of U.S. manufacturing in relation to economic growth, employment, the environment, and trade/investment.  Section two focuses on current and future challenges in U.S. manufacturing related to competitiveness, innovation, a skilled workforce and trade.
Other Categories: Current State of MFG, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations, Sustainability

The Skills Gap Report - October 2011
This report validates the theories that the death of skilled manufacturing workers is a serious threat to the nation’s manufacturing competitiveness.

Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young*- August 2011 There’s been a long, sometimes heated, debate on the role of firm size in employment growth. Despite skepticism in the academic community, the notion that growth is negatively related to firm size remains appealing to policymakers and small business advocates. The widespread and repeated claim from this community is that most new jobs are created by small businesses. Using data from the Census Bureau Business Dynamics Statistics and Longitudinal Business Database, this report explores the many issues regarding the role of firm size and growth that have been at the core of this ongoing debate (such as the role of regression to the mean). The study finds that the relationship between firm size and employment growth is sensitive to these issues. However, their main finding is that once they control for firm age there is no systematic relationship between firm size and growth. The findings highlight the important role of business startups and young businesses in U.S. job creation. Business startups contribute substantially to both gross and net job creation. In addition, the study finds an “up or out” dynamic of young firms. These findings imply that it is critical to control for and understand the role of firm age in explaining U.S. job creation. Other Categories: Innovation, Capital & Cost, Education & Workforce

Manufacturing's Wake-Up Call - August 2011
A new study shows how the decisions made today by goods producers and policymakers will shape U.S. competitiveness tomorrow. Key recommendations: 1) Attract best workers 2) Invest in high impact clusters 3)Build a future with Mexico 4) simplify and streamline the tax and regulatory structure.
Other Categories: Innovation, Current State of MFG, Global Competitiveness, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations, Productivity

Growth Through Innovation:  Building a Long-Term Strategy for Growth through Innovation - May 2011
History has amply demonstrated that innovation in the public and private sectors is the most important key to long-term U.S. prosperity and economic competitiveness. Yet in the United States today, innovation is at risk of stalling just at a time when rising international competition is on the upswing and the U.S. economy is still reeling from a deep recession.  Priorities for action start with turning three deficits—budget, investment/savings and trade—into surpluses.  This will require action by the public sector—to provide tax credits for innovation and more forward-thinking trade policies, for example—and the private sector, including businesses, universities and private research firms that reward education and job skills.
Other Categories: Innovation, Capital & Cost, Global CompetitivenessFederal/Industry Collaboration, Education & Workforce, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations

The Manufacturing Mandate: A National Manufacturing Strategy to Help Rebuild and Strengthen the U.S. Manufacturing Sector - August 2010
Quick and easy read provides a consensus scan of trade associations that focuses on: Incentivize innovation and R&D; assure availability of capital; increase global competitiveness; minimize structural cost burdens; enhance collaboration; “smartforce” for talent.
Other Categories: Capital & Cost, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, Federal/Industry Collaboration, Regulatory & Policy Recommendations