Project MFG: For a Nation in Need
Blogs are a great place to offer an opinion on something important. It’s kind of half-expected that when authoring a blog, the writer takes a stand on something and tries to convince the reader of their point. That’s not the case with this particular blog. That’s because the next several paragraphs aren’t based on an opinion of any sort, but rather a sobering set of facts:
America is heading down a very dangerous path, one that we can and must change.
During World War II, America faced a global challenge that had local implications. While much of our population was engaged in the war on foreign soil, American manufacturing played the role of unsung hero right here at home. Laborers of every type stepped up and stepped in to design and build what would be referred to as America’s “Arsenal of Democracy.”
As a country, we shifted focus to supporting our forces – designing, building and equipping our fighting men and women with the tools and resources we would need to preserve our way of life. “Freedom’s Forge,” as author Arthur Herman would later call it.
Clearly, it was a time of great sacrifice and victory for the United States. It was also a time for inspiration – a time that demonstrated the power of singular focus, of what can happen when we lock arms and take on challenges with foresight and determination.
The lessons we learned in World War II are ones we cannot forget. While we are not currently faced with the same kinds of challenges as we were then, a resource shortage in our manufacturing capability is putting us at great risk. Critically low numbers of skilled professionals are in the pipeline. More than 2.5 million jobs may go unfilled by 2028 as an aging workforce enters into retirement. Without those workers, our “arsenal of democracy” won’t last.
The U.S Department of Defense, through our Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment Program (IBAS), has teamed up with prominent government officials, industry trade organizations, manufacturers and stakeholders to address this critical issue.
We’re inspiring the next generation of professional workers through our Project MFG Next Generation Skills Challenge, a “moment that sparks a movement” to restore America’s manufacturing prominence.
The Challenge series launched in April, 2019 with three exciting competition stops and many more to come through 2019 and 2020. Teams demonstrate their abilities in design, machining and welding as they are tested with difficult manufacturing scenarios. The Challenge will culminate in a national competition at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago in September 2020.
Project MFG is a competition born out of Freedom’s Forge – a movement to rebuild our skill base, and position America as the global leader in manufacturing.
Through collaboration, dedication and an inspired generation of professional skill workers, it’s a goal we must meet.