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smeEarly Industrial America was a rough place to work for children. There weren’t labor laws, and families were forced to work in dangerous and unhealthy conditions, sometimes losing body parts and lives to machines and mines. The first effort to eliminate child labor in the factories and mines occurred in 1916, but it took until the Great Depression to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Act states children under 14 can not work, teens between the ages of 14 and 16 can only work during limited hours, and beginning at age 16, teens can work full time in non-hazardous occupations. (Agriculture isn’t included in this Act, leaving 500,000 children working in the fields alongside parents each year.) You get the idea. Well, according to a new survey from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), today parents hold outdated views on manufacturing careers, and these misconceptions should be updated to accommodate new manufacturing labor conditions.

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SME debunks manufacturing myths (PRNewsFoto/SME)

SME debunks manufacturing myths [Image: PRNewsFoto/SME]

No longer does the only vision of manufacturing involve people hunched over dangerous machines on dingy assembly or sweatshop lines. Far from it. Today’s manufacturing sector is brimming with new technological possibilities and the SME survey reveals that its important for parents to understand that their children could see a bright future there. This survey reports a few key parental misconceptions: more than 20 percent of parents see manufacturing as outdated or dirty work, and half of respondents do not see manufacturing as an engaging profession with career opportunities. One-quarter of parents surveyed think manufacturing jobs pay poorly. According to the SME, these are manufacturing myths that must be dispelled.

Right now the average manufacturing job supposedly pays $77,506 due to technological changes in the sector. This same technology provides exciting and challenging jobs that include 3D design and printing, animatronics, and gaming. Also, there are manufacturing career opportunities at every level of education from high school to the doctoral level. One more fact in response to the notion of manufacturing jobs as inherently dirty is that the manufacturing environments are “clean and green.” For example, more than 150 auto-manufacturing facilities are landfill-free. How’s that for dispelling some myths?

Jeffrey Krause, CEO of SME, summarizes the new manufacturing landscape:

“The landscape in advanced manufacturing has evolved. A serious misconception is that manufacturing is dirty, dark or dangerous; and isn’t seen as an optimal career choice. The reality is far from that. Manufacturing today is an advanced, high-value industry that represents innovation and technology. The survey results demonstrate that we need to show that manufacturing careers can be exciting, stimulating and very rewarding.”

As anyone familiar with the 3D printing/additive manufacturing space already knows, these new technologies are increasingly being incorporated into Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education in K-12 and higher education. 3D printing is being used to create everything from aircraft parts, medical devices, fashion and art — you get the point .

Since it is speculated that the global 3D printing market will expand from $1.6 billion in 2015 to $13.4 billion in 2018. Wow, 3D printing will be a major driving force in our “cleaner and greener” manufacturing future — far from those industry jobs of yesteryear. Parents! It’s time to get on board for your children’s future!

SME produces RAPID, where 3DPrint.com will be on-site next month in Orlando to cover the latest in 3D printing and other high-tech ventures! Do you find that parents you know lack perspective regarding manufacturing? Discuss in the SME Polls Parents forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: PR Newswire]fact5

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