6

Manufacturing Skills Improvement

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING technology will transform the image of manufacturing employment from a sweaty job of last resort to an intellectually demanding occupation.

In making knowledge an implicit part of manufacturing practice, for workers as well as management, advanced manufacturing technology is creating a need for a more educated work force. The shift in educational attainment by manufacturing employees between 1973 and 1983 (see Figure 1-4, p. 9) will become more pronounced in the coming decade. This shift is occurring at the same time that the supply of potential young workers is beginning to decline precipitously (Table 6-1, Figure 6-1). For example, in Germany in the year 2000, the pool of young workers is expected to be 60% of what it was in 1984. This decline is compounded by the fact that many economically disadvantaged individuals cannot meet even minimal skill requirements for the new manufacturing jobs.

The development of manufacturing skills does not occur in the abstract. It is related to a set of goals, specifically to the creation and maintenance of a well-trained, flexible, and motivated manufacturing workforce, comprising prospective workers as well as current workers at all conventional levels, including technical professionals and managers, mid-level technicians, and shop floor personnel.

Education of prospective manufacturing workers typically occurs in elementary and secondary schools (grades K-12), in community and technical colleges and trade schools, and in professional colleges



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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing 6 Manufacturing Skills Improvement ADVANCED MANUFACTURING technology will transform the image of manufacturing employment from a sweaty job of last resort to an intellectually demanding occupation. In making knowledge an implicit part of manufacturing practice, for workers as well as management, advanced manufacturing technology is creating a need for a more educated work force. The shift in educational attainment by manufacturing employees between 1973 and 1983 (see Figure 1-4, p. 9) will become more pronounced in the coming decade. This shift is occurring at the same time that the supply of potential young workers is beginning to decline precipitously (Table 6-1, Figure 6-1). For example, in Germany in the year 2000, the pool of young workers is expected to be 60% of what it was in 1984. This decline is compounded by the fact that many economically disadvantaged individuals cannot meet even minimal skill requirements for the new manufacturing jobs. The development of manufacturing skills does not occur in the abstract. It is related to a set of goals, specifically to the creation and maintenance of a well-trained, flexible, and motivated manufacturing workforce, comprising prospective workers as well as current workers at all conventional levels, including technical professionals and managers, mid-level technicians, and shop floor personnel. Education of prospective manufacturing workers typically occurs in elementary and secondary schools (grades K-12), in community and technical colleges and trade schools, and in professional colleges

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing TABLE 6-1 Size and Ethnic Distribution of 22-Year-old Population, 1980-2000.     Percent Distribution Year Total (000s) White Black Hispanic Asian Native American 1980 4315 77 13 7 2 1 1985 4213 76 13 8 2 1 1990 3601 73 14 10 2 1 1995 3346 71 15 11 3 1 2000 3350 70 14 12 3 1 SOURCE: E. L. Collins. 1988. Meeting the scientific and technologicalstaffing requirements of the American economy. Science and Public Policy (15:5): 335-342. in engineering and business. The current work force usually is trained —typically in basic skills, communication skill, and skills related to teamwork and group dynamics—through continuing education and training and retraining programs. Retraining tends to be job-, industry-, or company-specific and to be structured by levels (e.g., upper, middle, and lower). This chapter examines education and training for all manufac- FIGURE 6-1 Index of supply of potential young workers (15-19 year olds), 1984-2000. Source: Institute of Manpower Studies, International Labour Office.

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing turing workers at all levels. It focuses on the skills needs generated by the technology described in this report. Delivery mechanisms— such as workplace training and college-industry coalitions—are discussed in relation to both current and prospective workers. Finally, the chapter recognizes, but does not address, issues related to basic literacy, general education, and the need for broad changes in attitudes toward the importance of manufacturing. IMPORTANCE A 1986 study found that more than 40 percent of the work force operating advanced manufacturing systems in Japan were graduate engineers and that the remainder were technically well qualified. That the U.S. work force is not as well qualified is only part of the problem facing U.S. manufacturing firms. Also in serious doubt is the ability of the country's prospective work force to meet the skill requirements imposed by the advanced manufacturing technology on which our international competitiveness depends. As mentioned in Chapter 1, The Economist has reported that 6 out of 10 of the nation's 20-year-olds cannot add up a lunch bill.1 The Wall Street Journal has reported that 58 percent of Fortune 500 companies complained in a survey of having trouble finding employees with basic skills. 2 Southwestern Bell, according to the Journal article, in 1989 processed more than 15,000 applications to find FIGURE 6-2 Percentage of low-skill jobs is declining. Source: W. B. Johnston and A.H. Packer. 1987. Workforce 2000: Work and workers for the 21st century. Hudson Institute. xxi-xxii.

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing TABLE 6-2 Changing Educational Requirements, 1984-2000. Level of Education Required 1984 Jobs 2000 Jobs 8 years or less 6% 4% 1-3 years of high school 12% 10% 4 years of high school 40% 34% 1-3 years of college 20% 22% 4 years of college or more 22% 30% Total 100% 100% Median years of school 12.8 13.5 SOURCE: W. B. Johnston and A.H. Packer. 1987. Workforce 2000: Workand workers for the 21st century. Hudson Institute. 97-98. 3,700 people to take its 34-minute basic skills test (e.g., mathematics questions that call only for the operation to be identified, not for the computation to be performed). Only 800 passed, and further screening, in the form of interviews, physicals, and drug tests, resulted in only 580 new hires, at an estimated cost to the company of $1,000 per job. The educational crisis reflected in these circumstances is of national proportions. A Hudson Institute study,3 furthermore, predicts that more than half of all jobs created between 1984 and 2000 will require some education beyond high school and almost a third will be filled by college graduates (Figure 6-2, Table 6-2 and Table 6-3). Department of Labor projections for manufacturing employment to 2000, though level, show a change in occupational mix, with greater proportions of engineers, technicians (who may be upgraded operators), and managers (see Appendix A). TABLE 6-3 Fast-growing Jobs Require More Language, Mathematics, and Reasoning Skills. Rating (scale of 1-6 with 6 the highest) Current jobs Fasta Growing Slowb Growing Declining Language 3.1 3.8 2.7 1.9 Mathematics 2.6 3.1 2.3 1.6 Reading 3.5 4.2 3.2 2.6 a e.g., professional, technical, managerial, sales, and service jobs. b e.g., machine tenders, assemblers, miners, and farmers. SOURCE: W. B. Johnston and A. H. Packer. 1987. Workforce 2000: Workand workers for the 21st century. Hudson Institute. 98-99.

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing Widening of the gap between the growing demand for engineers and managers and the supply of appropriately educated and trained individuals will occur for four main reasons. One, as mentioned earlier, the number of new labor market entrants is declining, reflecting a decline in the population of 16- to 24-year-olds. Two, the growing numbers of women and minority persons who will be needed in the manufacturing work force to offset this decline do not have the educational base to acquire the necessary skills. Three, the low status of manufacturing as a career continues to dissuade many qualified people from pursuing careers in this field. And finally, increasing deployment of robots and other automated processes will further widen the gap by rendering many lower level manufacturing occupations as irrelevant as science and engineering are indispensable. The supply of manufacturing teachers, at all levels, will be affected by these same issues and reflect the same patterns. A Department of Defense (DOD)4 report summarized existing deficiencies in manufacturing skills and skills acquisition. The report faults the teaching of management theory and practice in the United States, summarized by statements such as, “good management is management by financial control”; “good managers can manage anything”; “individual achievement is important, not teamwork”; and “manufacturing is an unimportant function.” This approach, it says, is to blame for the inability of U.S. managers to achieve manufacturing results equivalent to those achieved by their Japanese counterparts. The report also reprimands engineering schools in universities for training engineers for careers in product research and development at the expense of an adequate focus on manufacturing. Few faculty members, it says, have industrial experience or expertise, and emphasis on specialization produces engineers who are ill-equipped to understand total manufacturing systems. The report notes in addition a severe shortage of adequately trained scientific and engineering students. In this vein, Dean Meyer Feldberg of Columbia University Business School observed in an interview with The New York Times that fewer than 4 percent of all college students will graduate in engineering, compared to 24 percent who will graduate with degrees in business.5 Dean Feldberg noted that Japan, with half the population of the United States, graduated twice as many electrical engineers as this country in 1989. Of the graduate students in science and engineering in the United States, almost half, according to the DOD report, are foreign. The report cites inadequate industry programs of continuing professional education and training for

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing engineers and production workers in the existing work force. A number of leading firms that have established training programs to upgrade the skills of production professionals, technicians, and operators report significant gains in production and increased ability to attract first-rate people to production jobs, but the bulk of U.S. industrial firms have neither the money needed to develop effective programs nor access to instructors competent to teach a broad range of modern manufacturing skills. Apprenticeship, despite criticism and unfavorable appraisals by academics and public policy analysts, “has stubbornly persisted and actually thrived in certain occupations, industries, localities, and countries, ” according to a report from the National Center for Research in Vocational Education.5 The report reveals that a rich diversity of apprenticeship practices exists in the United States unbeknownst to many for want of effective means of fostering awareness, dissemination, and replication. Comprehensive final examinations for apprentices, though common in other countries, are rare in U.S. programs, according to the report, and state and federal support for the largely privately sponsored and financed programs is incomplete and uncoordinated. Although some public funding of apprenticeship programs does exist, primarily for curriculum development and related classroom training, industry financing through training trust funds, sometimes jointly administered with unions that have a strong interest in training, is more common. In addition, a number of institutions and organizations in the public and private sectors, many with overlapping constituencies and missions, provide education and training for manufacturing that covers pretechnical, entry-level, technical, professional, skill upgrading, and continuing education. These agencies employ a variety of means and methods, ranging from the informal (e.g., on-the-job training) to the exotic (e.g., satellite-transmitted professional courses). Training for manufacturing is not standardized across the industry. Students and trainees may encounter full-time faculty or part-time instructors drawn from industry. The experience of these teachers may range from extensive to nonexistent; faculty may lack technical knowledge, and industry instructors may lack teaching skills. Many will be unaware of the availability of models, curricula, guides, and other teaching resources because no central clearinghouse for such materials exists. 6 If U.S. economic well-being, quality of life, and national security are to be maintained in the face of a contracting working-age population, those who are capable of working will be required to

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing work smarter and harder. They must be equipped to do so. If they are not, the United States stands to lose both the ability to create technology and the ability to absorb technologies created abroad. BARRIERS AND CHALLENGES The improvement of manufacturing skills in the United States faces two general barriers. One is the lack of resolve regarding manufacturing and its importance to the national well-being. A shared national value, such as the importance of education and national defense, arose for manufacturing only briefly, during World War II; its renewal could serve to enhance understanding of manufacturing and so improve its image. Manufacturing's image problem derives from an outdated, circa World War II, perception of manufacturing jobs as dirty, hard, low paying, and confining, as well as from a more contemporary lack of understanding, among many managers as well as government officials and the general public, of what manufacturing entails and of the value of manufacturing careers. One result of this image problem, according to the 1988 DOD report, is that manufacturing does not compete effectively for high-quality personnel. A business school dean observed recently that the same companies that send vice-presidents of marketing and finance to recruit for those functions often send a personnel specialist to recruit for manufacturing jobs. “The salary structures they offer,” the dean remarked, “might as well have a big sign attached that says: ‘Don't apply for this job category.'” Until this image is changed and public understanding enhanced, people not previously motivated to choose manufacturing careers can hardly be expected to do so. The other general barrier to improving U.S. manufacturing skills is the lack of a coherent national policy and standards for human resource development. This shortcoming has implications for all teachers in elementary, secondary, trade, and postsecondary schools, as well as for industries, vendors, and labor unions. These absences, of a national will toward manufacturing and a national human resources policy, confound efforts to surmount the more localized barriers identified below. Part of the challenge of improving manufacturing skills is to identify them. The increasing sophistication and rapid change in manufacturing processes call for higher level skills that can be continually augmented, adapted, and modified. Advanced manufacturing technologies have created a need for work teams that

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing are highly skilled not only in job-specific and general technical abilities, but also in interpersonal skills and organizational management. Differences in specific skill requirements between small and medium-sized companies and large firms tend not to be reflected in existing curricula, whose development and adoption is most often driven by the views of large firms. Customized training, long a staple of two-year colleges, is aimed almost exclusively at the needs of large firms, which are often those that can best afford to provide their own training.7 In the present U.S. manufacturing context, skills are generally expected to come from elsewhere. Industry pays taxes that in part support an educational system that it expects to meet its needs, and society is largely content to leave skills acquisition to individual initiative. Many potential providers of training in manufacturing are inhibited by lack of resources or motivation. Small and medium-size companies typically lack the time, money, and competence to mount effective training programs, while schools funded on a full-time equivalent basis often cannot justify programs designed to train small, dispersed enclaves of students. Given the mobility of the work force, many companies are reluctant to invest in the training of workers who might take their new skills elsewhere. Finally, people do not properly appreciate the benefits of training. Part of this problem derives from the seeming inability of U.S. business management to adopt policies that would allow companies to pay for skills (as opposed to jobs). Evaluations of apprenticeship programs, for example, seldom take into account the benefits that might accrue to an employer if an apprentice stays with the firm after completing the apprenticeship. But very real difficulties admittedly are associated with execution and methodology in studies and evaluations of manufacturing training. Return on investment and the strategic and tactical advantages of training are difficult to factor into formal evaluations, and many companies' perceptions of such training are colored by poor past experience. Precedent for improving manufacturing skills is lacking in many companies that are unaccustomed to paying for skills beyond entry level. The need to provide for continuing development is slowly being recognized, but managers untrained in modern manufacturing methods are inclined to look at manufacturing training as less productive than other training. Consequently, they remain reluctant to invest in training at the operator and technician levels. Even with more widespread interest in company-provided training,

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing much of the work force would not be ready to take advantage of it. Problems of basic literacy, necessitating remedial instruction, are impeding the entry into the work force of increasing numbers of educationally and economically disadvantaged people who might otherwise train for the new manufacturing jobs. A more fundamental barrier to the development of manufacturing skills is the largely indifferent and sometimes negative attitudes of faculty and guidance counselors, most likely derived from lack of manufacturing experience at any level. In some cases, faculty interest in manufacturing is actively discouraged and offending faculty are ostracized. This negative peer pressure can be traced, in part, to a general lack of a scientific base. Lack of state-of-the-art education facilities constitutes another deficiency in U.S. universities that would teach manufacturing-related science and engineering, according to the DOD report cited earlier. Tax incentives that encouraged donations of industrial equipment have ended, but even with this incentive, manufacturers could not contribute enough equipment to schools to replicate modern manufacturing in all its complexity. In addition, an appropriate body of manufacturing knowledge in a format suitable for teaching (curricula, content, and study and presentation materials) is lacking at many levels. Because they must compete with established programs for funding, new programs and disciplines focused on manufacturing are extremely difficult to put in place. Given funding (and the effects of the general educational funding malaise are felt by manufacturing as well), such programs will face the task of defining a body of manufacturing knowledge. The 1988 DOD report finds that the source of the nation's technical skill base, its university system, though sound, has little to offer in manufacturing and manufacturing technology. This is attributed in part to manufacturing's lack of status, even within manufacturing firms, where greater prestige tends to accrue to research and design engineers than to manufacturing engineers. The consequences can be seen in microelectronics manufacturing. To illustrate, the typical undergraduate experience in microelectronics is shown in Table 6-4, and the missing manufacturing engineering content is shown in Table 6-5.8 University shortcomings in this field can be grouped into two categories: impressions or attitudes conveyed to students that undermine the country's ability to produce highly talented and skilled semiconductor engineers, and significant curriculum deficiencies that limit students ' ability to acquire the broad knowledge needed

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing TABLE 6-4 Typical Undergraduate Experience in Microelectronics Course Type Manufacturing Content VLSI design (digital systems) None Analog integrated circuit design (electronics) None Integrated circuit processing lecture None Integrated circuit fabrication laboratory Small Device physics None SOURCE: Microelectronic Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology:Manpower for Tomorrow's Technology, 1990. TABLE 6-5 Manufacturing Engineering Content Missing from the Above Curriculum Subject Area Specific Skills Operations Research Factory floor simulation Work-in-progress tracking Total cycle time management Materials resource planning Scheduling Productive maintenance Joe Juran methodology Gathering and processing data for control and quality improvement* Statistical Process Control Design of experiments Statistical thinking Time series analysis Specific training in quality and reliability* Computer automation CAD, CAM, CIM SECS I, II Robotics AI, Expert Systems Other Lithography SOURCES: Microelectronic Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology:Manpower for Tomorrow's Technology, 1990; and Panel on ManufacturingSkills Improvement (*).

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing to be innovative in this interdisciplinary field. The resulting attitudes and reward systems discourage many of the best candidates from beginning or continuing careers in manufacturing. Finally, the elementary and secondary school teachers who prepare prospective university students are sorely deficient in providing a solid grounding in mathematics and science. Governmental structure offers one more barrier to improvement of manufacturing skills. Doctrine tends to discourage industry-govemment involvement in both directions, and federal responsibility for promoting improvement of manufacturing skills, both in industry and for its own use, is unclear. Uncoordinated initiatives are scattered throughout the departments of commerce, defense, education, energy, and labor and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Science Foundation (NSF). RESEARCH NEEDS AND GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS Manufacturing skills improvement is particularly difficult because so much of what affects it lies outside the manufacturing sector. The order of the day is to develop competence, in both the work force and management, with the advanced manufacturing technologies essential to manufacturing competitiveness. Very often today in U.S. firms, highly flexible manufacturing systems capable of producing more than one product over the range of economic quantities, and thus of supporting frequent new product introductions and short runs of custom products, are used simply to increase machine utilization for existing small bases of products. Management training in business schools must emphasize technology management at least as much as financial management. Moreover, it must emphasize the development of an integrated view of manufacturing if it is to produce people competent to optimize manufacturing enterprises. Some degree of cross training in engineering would produce managers who have skills comparable to those of their counterparts elsewhere in the world, particularly in Japan. Also important to the development of a competent work force is vocational and engineering education. At these levels, the problem today is not that skills are not imparted; it is that the right skills ar not imparted. What modern manufacturing needs—and is not getting—are master technicians and Renaissance engineers. Identifying the skills needed by these classes of employees in current and future uses of advanced manufacturing technology is an important part of a research agenda. Instruction of such employees

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing should emphasize the application of new ways to improve quality and productivity, such as techniques for robust design, quality programs, production control mechanisms (e.g., Goldratt's and others), and newer accounting systems (e.g., Activity-Based Costing) that derive information from simple, on-floor measurements. As these methods are culture- rather than capital-intensive, engineers must be taught how to introduce them so that they are accepted. Manufacturing engineering programs should give these techniques and their implementation at least as much attention as they give robotics and CAM, which are perhaps more comfortable to deal with technically, but have a more limited range of applicability. Finally, research should be directed at determining why engineering instruction in the United States tends to emphasize theory over practice and design over production, and why engineering faculty seem to have little manufacturing experience. Determining whether this has always been so or if something happened to turn U.S. university teaching away from a practical production orientation could provide insights useful for restoring the balance. None of the generic skills noted—such as basic literacy, numeracy, integrative and interpersonal abilities, and problem solving and higher order thinking—are peculiar to manufacturing; these are the skills that virtually every industry, vocational, and skills study has found lacking. Recognition of the indispensability of these skills to people working with advanced manufacturing technologies might serve to reinforce efforts to build them in the population as a whole, but only if manufacturing is itself considered important. The significance of manufacturing must be understood in terms of what companies do. Companies that manufacture goods must be valued for that activity rather than as chips in some grand national poker game. Manufacturing enterprise must come to be viewed as at least as important as making deals in Wall Street. Until that happens, manufacturing careers will continue to be undervalued and undercompensated. Many of the efforts that are needed are not clearly within the purview of the NSF. This section attempts to differentiate research activities that, though they might not qualify as research, are activities that the panel believes are crucial to the development and improvement of the manufacturing skills base. Career-long learning is essential, especially for engineers and technical people in manufacturing. Implementing the priorities below will provide an infrastructure for career-long learning, providing further rationale for funding those priorities.

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing Education of underrepresented individuals is best implemented by making it an integral part of each of the following priorities. Priority One: Collaborative Education in Manufacturing Skills Rationale A methodology is needed for studying complete industrial processes in order to identify more precisely the skills that will be required by users of advanced technologies. Already, companies have perceived a need for familiarity with statistics, process control, and manufacturing concepts, including microeconomics, basic electronic theory, and communications, as well as problem-solving ability and basic qualities such as responsibility and initiative. A more thorough exposure to these subjects could rely on the establishment of teaching factories, similar in concept to teaching hospitals. Among the many diverse and useful education and research efforts aimed at improving manufacturing skills at the engineering and management end of the education spectrum are: the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, Materials Processing Center, and Leaders for Manufacturing Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the manufacturing-oriented Engineering Research Center at Purdue University; the National Technological University 's Master of Science Program in Manufacturing Systems Engineering; the Center for Innovation Management Studies and Manufacturing Engineering Program at Lehigh University; and the University of Wisconsin's Manufacturing Engineering initiative. These programs, though they appear to be very effective, are not nearly numerous enough to serve the population in need of skills improvement at this level. Recommendation The NSF should establish a program to subsidize the initiation of large new consortia that can collaborate, among themselves and directly with ongoing research efforts, on the development and dissemination of programs of manufacturing skills education for engineers and managers. The effort could be couched as research on collaborative education in manufacturing skills, including nationwide access and hands-on experience at appropriate centers, to include a number of teaching factories.

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing Comment Such a program could leverage existing funding from NSF, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), industry, and universities to mount a larger, more effective effort than exists today. A relatively small amount of funding could have a major impact. Funding could be on a one- or two-year start-up basis, with continuing funding from other sources thereafter. Priority Two: Educational Level—Faculty Rationale Improving the technical competence of students and practicing engineers relies on improving the technical competence of faculty. Engineering faculty should understand the importance of manufacturing and bring manufacturing-related concerns to students at all levels. An effective way to swiftly bring this about is to establish for engineering faculty a professional development program in manufacturing that is cost effective and readily available. Recommendation NSF should establish a Faculty Professional Development Program in manufacturing with a goal of reaching 20 percent of the engineering faculty in ABET9 accredited programs within two years. The proposed program should be operated nationwide, with industry participation, at a relatively low cost per participant per day. Comment Existing programs are not effective for this purpose because few faculty from leading institutions attend and the programs are lengthy and costly. Priority Three: Education of Managers Rationale An environment more hospitable to manufacturing will require a change in corporate culture. Manufacturing must become a major concern instead of a secondary consideration of top management. Only management initiative can effect the needed changes

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing in attitude toward and practice of, manufacturing. Studies that show Japanese managements eliciting from the same work force and process technology 15 percent greater productivity and quality than their U.S. counterparts should provide incentive enough. Many U.S. schools of management and business turn out students who understand business; far fewer turn out students who can manage. The concepts of business are learned in a much different way than the behavioral skills needed to manage effectively a sociotechnical system. Alternative sources of the needed training must be found. Recommendation NSF should fund and coordinate research that involves business and management schools, engineering colleges, and industry in collaborative studies of manufacturing management in particular and technology management in general. In-house training sponsored by industries and individual companies and educational programs provided through university extension and business and management school executive education programs also are appropriate. As a first step, NSF should fund a program to initiate the collection of data on the current status of programs in manufacturing and technology management. Priority Four: Establishment of Education and Training Consortia Rationale This would be a higher priority if the infrastructure needed to support the program existed at U.S. institutions. Because academe lacks the faculty and facilities to implement needed programs, and the cost of creating a supporting infrastructure would be enormous, NSF should allocate resources to support meaningful cooperation among the major players—institutions, industry, and government. Recommendation NSF should work with other government agencies, particularly the Department of Commerce, to develop a program that would establish consortia around specific manufacturing efforts, such as microelectronics, automotive, and aerospace.

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing Comment Many elements of such an effort already exist and should be encouraged to expand from a research focus to research and education. The Manufacturing Educational Centers concept is a good direction to follow. The cost is hard to estimate, but could be as high as that of the Engineering Research Centers program (1985/$10 million/6 centers; 1986/$21.89 million/11 centers; 1987/$29.28 million/ 14 centers; 1988/$33.8 million/16 centers; 1989/$38.17 million/ 18 centers; 1990/$42.51 million/19 centers; 1991/$45.77 million/ 19 centers; 1992/$48.27 million/18 centers). Priority Five: Educational Level—Paraprofessional (Two-year Colleges/Vocational Schools) Rationale The funding of research to strengthen the development of paraprofessionals is particularly important to the nation's small and medium-sized businesses, which require broader competencies and greater flexibility and do not have engineering staffs. Much more knowledge is needed about the skill, knowledge, and behavioral requirements of advanced manufacturing systems. Research should be undertaken to help employers and employees articulate needs for specific skills and to help educators translate these needs into curricula. Further, it is clear that the paraprofessional training currently provided by many large companies should be transferred to public institutions. Similarly, firm-specific training being provided by many public agencies ought to be transferred to companies. Support to design and encourage the process for these shifts of responsibility would be appropriate. Recommendation To lay the groundwork for future efforts at two-year colleges and vocational schools, successful manufacturing skills and education programs, both domestic and abroad, should be studied for their organizational structures, delivery of services, management, and incentives, as well as for their curricular content. Part of such a study might take the form of an analysis, international in scope, of the organization, funding, execution, and training content of apprenticeship and cooperative programs. The following priorities are not ranked.

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing Conceptual Thinking Rationale Manufacturing, being easily the most complex and challenging part of an organization, requires high-order conceptual skills. The manufacturing function is most effectively managed as a system, yet most of the thinking brought to bear on manufacturing problems and opportunities is discrete. This is not surprising in light of findings that only a third of students in U.S. colleges and universities have thinking abilities that can be classified as conceptual. The didactic approach to instruction employed in most secondary schools and universities does not prepare students to understand and manage systems. Similarly, the teaching of engineering emphasizes analytical skills, but imparts little in the way of integrative or synthesis skills that will enable students to transcend thinking about discrete parts in order to understand and implement systems. Recommendation NSF should fund research to identify, analyze, and document secondary school and university curricula that successfully teach conceptual and integrative thinking. The results of this research should be made widely available, and a panel comprising the educators responsible for designing and delivering the successful programs should be empowered to recommend necessary changes in secondary, university, and graduate curricula. Cooperative Behavior Rationale Although manufacturing is increasingly relying on distributed and cooperative approaches to problem solving, little research has been done on the factors that foster or suppress cooperative behavior. Neither organization of education and training programs nor the philosophy of education have received much attention, though these are at least as important as program content in inculcating work habits. As cooperation and shared responsibility become more important to manufacturing, educators and trainers need to know how their actions and attitudes, as well as the curricula, influence behavior. In addition, research is needed at the human–

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing machine interface. New approaches to training will be needed to link machine learning capability and operator experience. Recommendation Research into the relationships of individuals to complicated systems should be undertaken, to include person–person and person–machine cooperation in both learning and work situations. Effective and Efficient Teaching Methods Rationale Engagement, debate, and student responsibility and participation are teaching methods that shorten the time it takes to learn, as well as lengthen retention, build skills, and facilitate the application of learning. Recommendation NSF should fund research on teaching methodologies that yield faster learning and better retention and facilitate the application of what is learned to real life situations. Representatives of both traditional (e.g., universities and community colleges) and nontraditional (e.g., the National Technological University) educational enterprises might be brought together in a financially self-sustaining program to determine how different instructional methods might be combined to bring the highest quality of instruction to the broadest range of students without sacrificing the benefits of individual contact and experimental practice. The unique qualities of television might be studied, for example, with the aim of using it to improve training in manufacturing skills. Educational Level—Bachelor's Degree An analysis of manufacturing components in curricula at the bachelor 's degree level in engineering and in business education is needed. 10 Recommendation NSF should perform an analysis of manufacturing components in curricula at the bachelor's degree level in engineering and in business education.

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing Educational Level—Through High School Education through high school is a top national priority that must be addressed with more resources than NSF commands. Some immediate measures are possible. A semiconductor industry recommendation for raising the standards of primary and secondary education suggests that industry experts teach summer sessions as a way of developing mathematics and science teachers. Career education, including the evaluation and development of career guidance materials at all levels, should be undertaken in support of manufacturing. This might be construed to include promoting a general awareness of the importance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy. Recommendation NSF should inform those studying the problems of secondary education of its import for manufacturing and should encourage the incorporation of manufacturing awareness in the nation's high school curricula. Summary Manufacturing competitiveness in the international arena will rely increasingly on the deployment of advanced manufacturing technology, which in turn will rely on the nurturance of a highly skilled and multidisciplinary work force. This work force does not now exist, and serious impediments, enumerated in this chapter, threaten to slow or even forestall its creation. The consequences of this eventuality for the economic welfare of the United States range from serious to devastating. Evidence abounds that the U.S. educational system needs radical and pervasive reform. This chapter suggests some strategies for improving the nation's chances of creating the work force it needs. In the interest of starting somewhere, and starting soon, this panel recommends that the following activities be undertaken immediately. Establish a program to foster collaborative education in manufacturing skills through large consortia and teaching factories. Establish a professional development program to improve faculty understanding of manufacturing and encourage faculty to bring manufacturing concerns to the attention of students. Fund collaborative studies of manufacturing and technology man-

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing agement as a way of developing understanding in managers of the need to change attitudes toward, and the practice of, manufacturing. Encourage cooperation among federal, state, and local governments to develop a consortia-based alternative to the educational infrastructure so as to raise graduate education in manufacturing to a satisfactory level. Fund an international study of successful programs of training and education in manufacturing skills and fund the transfer of generic teaching functions from industry to academe. NOTES 1. Gone fishing. 1990. The Economist. 314: (January 6) 61-62. 2. Richards, B. 1990. Wanting Workers. Wall Street Journal Reports: Education (supplement) (February 9) R10. 3. W. B. Johnston and A. H. Packer. 1987. Workforce 2000: Work and workers for the 21st century. Hudson Institute. xxi-xxii, 97-99. 4. Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition). 1988. Bolstering Defense Industrial Competitiveness. Report to the Secretary of Defense. July. 19-23. 5. Glover, R. W. 1986. Apprenticeship Lessons from Abroad. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University National Center for Research in Vocational Education. 6. A recent National Research Council report recommends establishing such a clearinghouse. See Improving Engineering Design: Designing for Competitive Advantage. 1991. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. 1991. 7. Two exceptions are The Great Lakes Manufacturing Technology Center (supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology) and the Unified Technology Center in Cleveland, Ohio, which provide focused help for smaller firms. They transfer technology through on-site interactions with smaller firms and enhance employee skills through training. They also provide advice to individual firms on opportunities for enhancing product quality and productivity, which is well received by the business community and is a valuable activity for all concerned. 8. A well-thought-out curriculum for manufacturing and design engineering has been proposed by Dr. Joel Spira, Lutron Electronics Company, Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, January 6, 1990. See Appendix B in Improving Engineering Design: Designing for Competitive Advantage. 1991. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. 9. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology reviews and provides accreditation for the nation's collegiate-level technology-based programs. 10. For DOD activities, see The Department of Defense Report on Science and Engineering Education Activities of the Department of Defense for the Committees on Armed Services, United States Congress. March 1990.