Manufacturing education IS economic development
Posted by Bert Maes on August 30, 2010
Based on thoughts of Ryan Guina
There is no way to determine the absolute value of manufacturing education – it depends on the degree you get, how you use it, how productive you are, the exact career field you are in, the skills you bring to the table, the ability to continue learning, and many other factors.
Anyhow, many sources and research clearly shows that training and graduating in manufacturing and engineering usually means higher pay. As such manufacturing education IS economic development. “For a nation education is clearly as important as economics.” (Ralph W. Tyler)
- Graduating, acquiring a diploma – no matter what field – adds an average additional income of €6000/$7600 per year. That brings increased investments and spending, generating tens of thousands extra jobs every year, and hundreds of millions of extra tax revenue per year. If all the students who drop out over a decade were to graduate instead, they would earn an additional $3 trillion in wages. That amount of money would do a lot to make the economic recovery that is now shakily underway sustainable in the years to come.
- After doctors, anesthesiologists, surgeons, lawyers, top managers and MBAs, the highest paying jobs are based in science or engineering and those that run a profitable small business.
- Manufacturing workers earn between 23% and 30% more than the average wage for the private sector workforce. Why is that? A lot of workers were pushed out of the industry due to automation and advanced manufacturing methods. The guys who can survive the automation and robot trend are more technically capable than anyone else. So they are paid very well.
- People with professional degrees, including engineers, have far less chances to get unemployed.
- “Even if you do go to college, learn a trade in the summers. You’re likely to be less damaged, and quite possibly better paid, as an independent tradesman than as a cubicle-dwelling tender of information systems or low-level creative.” (Mathew Crawford in his book Shop Class as Soul Craft)
For example, Ryan Guina reports on one of his friends, an electrician in his 40’s, owning a small business focusing on residential and small commercial electric installation and repair jobs, employing a couple of people and making €200,000 a year. The best part is his job will never go away. People will always need electricians and mechanics.
But these kinds of jobs – electrician, plumbers, mechanics, CNC machining specialists – require
- being a ‘contrarian’,
- hard work,
- challenging what is,
- creativity to solve problems in ways that haven’t been done before at lower costs,
- planning constructively in association with others,
- willingness to share power collectively,
- putting in that extra effort,
- and a continuing desire to learn and improve.
“We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” (Tyler Durden, Fight Club)