Madison, WI (Food Manufacturer, December 12, 2014): Some companies looking for welders, machinists, and other skilled workers are turning their sights to women.
Federal statistics show that women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce yet hold less than a third of the nation's 12.2 million manufacturing jobs.
Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson is among the companies targeting women through job fairs, professional organizations, and schools. Harley official Tonit Calaway says it's good business to have the company's workforce look like its potential customers.
Women's share of manufacturing jobs peaked in the early 1990s. But a report by the National Women's Law Center found that since the recession ended in 2009, men regained more than 500,000 industry jobs, while women lost another 52,000.
The report's author says the reasoning is unclear, but she believes companies aren't doing enough outreach.
Madison, WI (Food Manufacturing, December 5, 2014): U.S. employers added a whopping 321,000 jobs in November, the biggest burst of hiring in nearly three years and the latest sign that the United States is outperforming other economies throughout the developed world.
The Labor Department also said Friday that 44,000 more jobs were added in September and October combined than the government had previously estimated. Job gains have averaged 241,000 a month this year, putting 2014 on track to be the strongest year for hiring since 1999.
The unemployment rate remained at a six-year low of 5.8 percent last month.
The robust job gains come after the economy expanded from April through September at its fastest pace in 11 years. The additional jobs should support steady growth in coming months.
Average hourly wages rose 9 cents to $24.66 last month, the biggest gain in 17 months. Yet in the past 12 months, hourly pay is up just 2.1 percent, barely ahead of the 1.7 percent inflation rate.
Madison, WI (Food Manufacturing, December 8, 2014): November was a good month for women and recent veterans who sought jobs.
The unemployment rate for women reached 5.3 percent last month. The figure, matching the level for June this year, is the lowest since 2008.
Recent veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan made even bigger strides. The unemployment rate for that group dropped to 5.7 percent from 7.2 percent in October.
Overall, the U.S. economy enjoyed a burst of hiring in November that added 321,000 jobs — the most in nearly three years. The unemployment rate remained 5.8 percent, the lowest level since July 2008.
The gains for women and veterans came from a separate survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs data.
Lancaster (December 10, 2014): Nearly 150 businesspeople, educators, and workforce development professionals joined the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board for the 15th Annual Workforce Summit, entitled "Veteran Employment: Successfully Integrating Returning Veterans into the Changing Job Market" on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at the Eden Resort Inn, 222 Eden Road in Lancaster. Click here for a downloadable copy of the program.
Led by the Red Rose Veterans Honor Guard, the day kicked off with the colors being presented and participants joining together in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mistress of Ceremonies Jill Welch, Chair of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, introduced Reggie Jones and Richard Boyer, Veteran Services Representatives of the PA CareerLink of Lancaster County. Click here for more information on Veteran Services at the PA CareerLink.
This year, the program addressed issues involved in bringing veterans back to their communities and adapting their military skills to civilian jobs. A welcome from Commissioner Craig Lehman was followed by a keynote address from Staff Sargent Brandon Gregg, Employment Outreach Manager for the PA National Guard based at Ft. Indiantown Gap, who spoke to his experience in transitioning as well as the services provided by the Guard. A panel of veteran services specialists consisting of Jill Welch, Barley Snyder; Victor Rodgers, Harrisburg Area Community College; Robert Thomas, Tabor Community Services; Billy Lanham, US Department of Labor, and Judge Jeffery Wright, Veterans Court, Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas spoke to services available to address barriers that my arise as veterans come back to the job market.
This Summit was the lead-in to an Open House for veterans at the PA CareerLink later that day. Click here to see a summary of that event.
In addition to the main program, the Board honored a number of partners as Friends of Workforce. They include...
- Building Bridges in our Community
- Charla Plaines, PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency
- Chad Renner, PA Board of Probation and Parole
- Mark Wilson, Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole Services
- Contribution to the Mission
- Francesca Montanez, Citizens Bank
- Mark Easteadt, Commuter Service
- Expanding our Horizons
- Dr. Len Litowitz, Millerville Universtiy
- Astro Machine
Executive Director Scott Sheely also presented his annual "State of the Workforce" address. Sheely highlighted the growing role of Logistics and Transportantion in the Lancaster County economy and briefed participant on new training to address the skill needs of this growing industry. Click here for the presentation as well as here for the 2014 Bubble Chart of Lancaster County Industry Clusters and Sectors.
Madison, WI (Manufacturing Business Technology, October 21, 2014): Trevor Fischer, a 23 year old enrolled at Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, Washington, admits he never held much interest in pursuing a career in manufacturing.
He believes young people don't consider a career in manufacturing because the idea of working at a big industrial plant can be intimidating. "I personally felt this way at first," he admits. Fischer changed his mind after completing a paid internship through the Alcoa Foundation Global Youth Internship Program that paired him with an internship near his hometown. "I also felt worried that I would make mistakes that may effect production or other important aspects of the plant. The last thing I want is to slow others down."
Fischer isn't alone yet the reality of not having enough qualified talent in manufacturing is concerning considering there are well-paying and sustainable jobs to be had.
In a recent Wall Street Journal piece, Why US Manufacturing is Poised for a Comeback (Maybe), the reporter discusses some of the progress being made within the manufacturing industry but doesn't sugarcoat a challenge that continues to face employers: "U.S. manufacturers complain they can't find enough people skilled in operating or repairing sophisticated machinery, and U.S. students do poorly in international comparisons of math and science skills."
In the meantime, youth unemployment or underemployment continues to rise at double, triple and, sometimes, greater than quadruple the rate of general unemployment in the region. In Blount County, Tennessee, youth unemployment is at 24.2 percent while the state's is 7.1 percent; in parts of Pittsburgh, youth unemployment is between 18-25 percent while the state's is at 5.7 percent; in Whatcom County in Washington State's Bellingham community, it's at 19.6 percent whereas the state's rate is 5.6 percent.
Madison, WI (Food Manufacturing, November 18, 2014): American manufacturing has had great success in automating factories with robots and computers in the last 50 years, and computers are now eliminating many service jobs. This has caused a lot of speculation about how far artificial intelligence can be developed.
Universities and scientists also add to the excitement by promoting artificial intelligence with futuristic potentials as they try to get their share of federal grant money. The big question that often arises is, when will computers be able to emulate humans and become self aware and intelligent?
The Human Brain
It all starts with an understanding of the human brain. The brain is not designed the same way as a digital computer. It is a kind of analogue neural network that encodes information on a continuum. It has its own unique system guiding the thinking process – connected by neurons – however, the way such neurons communicate and work is totally different from a digital computer.
Neurons are the real key to how the brain learns, thinks, perceives, stores memory and a host of other functions. Each neuron is a living cell and a computer in its own right. Unlike computers with fixed architecture, the brain can constantly re-wire its neurons to learn and adapt. Instead of programs, neural networks learn by doing and remembering, and this vast network of connected neurons gives the brain excellent pattern recognition.
Limitations of Digital Computers
We have been so successful with Large Scale Integration (LSI) in continuously shrinking microprocessor circuits and adding more transistors year after year that people have begun to believe that we might actually equal the human brain. But, there are problems.
The first problem is that in digital computers, all calculations must pass through the CPU which eventually slows down its program. The human brain doesn't use a CPU and is much more efficient.
Madison, WI (Manufacturing.net, November 20, 2014): President Barack Obama said Thursday that 19 scientists, researchers, and innovators who received the country's highest honor for their life-changing work embody the spirit of the nation and its "sense that we push against limits and that we're not afraid to ask questions."
"When that spirit, that sense of possibility, is truly unleashed, then you get the remarkable men and women that you see here today," Obama said at a White House ceremony recognizing the newest recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
The recipients include researchers working on everything from DNA replication to personalized medicine.
Another honoree invented the tiny data storage device known as a thumb drive.
Obama used the event to plug math and science education, particularly for minority students. He announced that groups that have been trying to further his goal of getting 100,000 more math, science, engineering and technology teachers in schools are putting an additional $28 million toward the effort.