June 9, 2017

The Manufacturing Industry Needs High-Quality Early Learning

The STEM workforce the manufacturing sector needs will be built by quality early learning

The U.S. doesn’t currently have the STEM workforce it needs

The American manufacturing sector is full of opportunity: Between 2010 and 2020, the American manufacturing industry is projected to have 3.5 million job openings, including over 400,000 new jobs. Yet, more than half of those job openings are projected to go unfilled, thanks to a lack of qualified applicants who have the necessary STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills. That “skills gap” threatens to deal serious damage to the American economy.

High-quality early childhood education can help close the skills gap

We can build the workforce American manufacturing needs, but we must start early. Research shows that disadvantaged children can start kindergarten up to 18 months behind their more-advantaged peers. High-quality early childhood education, including early math and science instruction, helps create the early foundation for the STEM skills—and the behavioral skills—that the American manufacturing sector badly needs. What’s more, laying that foundation for future success also creates other positive academic, career, and life outcomes.

Early childhood education, including STEM education, is a critical piece to the puzzle for manufacturers to have the skilled workforce they desperately need.

Jennifer McNelly, President, Manufacturing Institute


  1. National