While the manufacturing workforce has become more educated, it is still behind the overall economy by some measures of educational attainment. The share of workers with a B.A. degree and higher has risen steadily for both the economy and the manufacturing sector; however, the latest data for 2012 show that the share of the manufacturing workforce with a B.A. degree or higher—29 percent—is eight percentage points below the economy-wide average.

The U.S. needs to educate and train workers with the necessary skills for a technologically and globally oriented factory sector. This will likely require coordination between industry, public schools, and post-secondary institutions to better align education with rapidly evolving industry needs. Doing so will create the manufacturing workforce that can generate the product and process innovations universally deemed necessary for thriving in a globally challenging business climate.

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