-  A trend continues today, as media sources continue to highlight US manufacturing’s skills gap and the need for a qualified workforce. In an article, entitled Ohio Compressor Maker Hunts for Workers Amid Skills Gap, Bloomberg puts a spotlight on Ariel Corp, a natural gas compressor manufacturer based in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Ariel has spent the better part of three years attempting to fill two hundred open positions within their firm. This should be welcomed by Ohio citizens who have experienced an unemployment rate average of 9.2 percent since 2009. Yet, Ariel's open positions remain unfilled.

Ariel is not a unique story in the United States right now. US Manufacturing companies ‘can’t fill as many as 600,000 skilled positions’, according to a survey by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute. Many in the industry cite a ‘lack of qualified applicants’ as the reason.

But why aren't people pursuing careers in manufacturing? Kelly Wallace, director of adult workforce education at the Career Technology Education Center of Columbus, says the explanations lies in ‘Two generations of students [who] have received no shop class in school and [consider] careers in manufacturing not “sexy,”'. Programs like the Manufacturing Institute’s Dream It. Do It. program are working to fight off these stereotypes. Dream It. Do It. is on the ground in over twenty states connecting students with education pathways that lead to careers in manufacturing. Many manufactures are doing their part as well by ‘hosting career fairs, workshops and other events throughout the U.S. on Oct. 5 with groups including the Manufacturing Institute as part of a “National Manufacturing Day” to highlight the skills needed and jobs available’.

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