Manufacturing helps drive Texas' economy, but this growing sector is also grappling with a nationwide labor shortage. Why is the industry so hungry for skilled workers and what's being done to fill the gap?
Texas' manufacturing industry employs more than 874,000 people who earn an average annual salary of $71,500. In 2018, the state exported $247.46 billion in manufactured goods.
However, a study by The Manufacturing Institute shows the manufacturing worker shortage could reach 2.4 million by 2028, as baby boomers retire and their jobs remain unfilled.
The Texas Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education program was formed in 2016 in response to a skill deficits in specific job areas, including multi-skilled technicians for advanced manufacturing.
The program offers dual-track, apprenticeship-style training with industry partners like Toyota, CPS Energy and H-E-B that prepares students to earn a living in manufacturing.
In May, TX FAME graduated its first class of students, all of whom earned an associates degree as an Advanced Manufacturing Technician and gained work experience with one of their industry partners.
What kinds of advanced manufacturing careers are available in Texas? Why is experiential learning important in this industry? How does the "earn-as-you-learn" model work? What are the qualifications to for TX FAME enrollment?
How is technology changing the industry and its need for workers? Could automation help close the gap? What else is being done to help build a reliable pipeline of manufacturing talent in Texas?
- David Marquez, executive director of Economic and Community Development for Bexar County
- Marurice Salazar, skilled group leader for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas
- Amanda Herrera, 2nd-year student currently enrolled and employed at H-E-B through the program
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, August 1.