What have manufacturers done wrong over the past couple of decades with regard to workforce education?
We had devalued the manufacturing sector generally, and production work -- even skilled production work -- specifically.
During the '80s and '90s, our business and public policy leaders placed their bets on creating the "post-industrial" economy comprised of "higher-value-added" work. In this vision, all kids would go to college, learn a profession and, ultimately, earn high wages. Our new economy would be built on services and knowledge and finance, not on what was viewed -- incorrectly even then -- as mere brawn on the factory floor.
What they didn't understand was that production work also would evolve. While they weren't paying attention, manufacturing innovated and production grew more sophisticated, requiring new skills, knowledge of new technologies and more smarts.
More on how to improve workforce training on IndustryWeek.