It’s a common complaint and worry among manufacturers today that they face a serious skills gap. There’s been plenty of ink spilled about the critical need for people trained in the skilled trades: electricians, welders, machinists, and so on.
But the gap is much greater than the skilled trades, and goes to a breakdown in fundamental knowledge in working with one’s hands, along with the dwindling desire to work in manufacturing. In a country where a generation ago shop classes were nearly universal in high schools, and where most young people grew up learning to use basic hand tools and to troubleshoot and repair basic home and auto breakdowns, it’s now safer to assume that today’s young people have none of that training and none of those skills. Meanwhile, fewer and fewer of our youth see work in manufacturing as a desirable career.