There are some who believe that within the next 15 years about half of all US Manufacturing firms will close their doors! Currently, worker shortages are empowering existing workers to do some rethinking. They now have the opportunity to reconsider what jobs they want to do, where they want to live,  and what industries they want to work in. Manufacturing appears to be at a disadvantage because many potential workers do not view manufacturing jobs as secure and stable compared to those in other industries. Finally, there is an acceleration to all things digital-Industry 4.0 that has the potential to leave many manufacturers behind because they are slow to invest in technology.

To survive manufacturing companies need to move away from being consumers of talented workers and become better creators of manufacturing talent. More small manufacturing firms need to follow Process Metal Innovator’s (PMI’s) lead. A Bloomer Wisconsin Company, PMI reached out to their local economic development corporation (CEDC), their local school district (Bloomer Wisconsin School District), their local community colleges (Chippewa Valley Technical College & Northwood Technical College), and their local workforce agency (Workforce Resource) to develop a partnership that would apply for a $10 million Dollar Workforce Innovation Grant so that a training classroom, lab space, and equipment could be built on site. This facility is designed to improve the local manufacturing industry’s perception and value proposition among youth!

Recently, Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin toured PMI in Bloomer. The company fabricates many parts for customers like Generac Power Systems and Menards and the tour highlighted how the company is embracing technology and Industry 4.0. and are hiring people with the right attitude and ability to learn. PMI continues to take the proactive steps of adopting digital transformation (DT) technologies, working with the local school district to enhance critical skills in students, and collaborating with local technical colleges to help fund those students who choose to work in tomorrow’s manufacturing companies.