Manufacturing Industry

The NDUS Foundation Supports Manufacturing

The NDUS Foundation has made it a priority to support manufacturing programs across the eleven campus system, with an emphasis on collaboration. More to follow on where best to donate…but as for some additional information on manufacturing, we have provided here findings from the Manufacturing Study Group… a key theme is the need for an integrated, state-wide approach to manufacturing education. Please read on …

Pathway for Manufacturing

…There is a tremendous need to diversify the economy within the state of North Dakota and a clearer focus on manufacturing can do that for us. We do not share in the fortunes of manufacturing to the extent that other states do across the U.S., and that is evident from the numbers outlined below. With the volatility of commodities, manufacturing would definitely help to level off some of North Dakota’s budget concerns.

North Dakota has a lot to offer manufacturing such as, low cost energy, central location within North America, and plenty of real estate available. What we lack is an overall commitment to manufacturing within the state and the development of the skill sets necessary to support manufacturing’s current needs, let alone growth into the future.

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education can help diversify the state’s economy by creating curriculums and pathways that are focused on career opportunities in manufacturing within North Dakota. Building a strong manufacturing sector requires a cohesive workforce development strategy involving public and private interests to build a pipeline of skilled workers. State education policies will play a more significant role in enabling students to acquire work-ready skills.

Manufacturing’s Impact
Here are a quick few facts concerning manufacturing in the United States as compared to North Dakota.
Manufacturing in the U.S.

  • The manufacturing sector comprises establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products.
  • Facts about manufacturing in the United States/Nationwide data:
    • $2.17 trillion of value produced every year or 12% of Gross Domestic Product
    • 9% of workforce

North Dakota

  • $3.7 billion or 5.8% of ND GDP
  • Supports 26,000 jobs in ND
    • 5.6% of states workforce

It should be pointed out that during this latest oil slump, the state of Texas is doing very well. Alaska, Wyoming, and North Dakota are not. Why is that? Simply because of the diversity of its economy. Manufacturing has helped Texas level off the swings in their economy related to commodity markets.

Pathways & Curriculum

We need to develop an initiative at the state level for high schools, technical colleges, and our university systems where they are aligned and partnered with local industries in order to bring relevant classes to their institutions, while also bringing the students into the workplace to gain on-the-job experiences, such as apprenticeship programs. This has positive benefits for the companies because they are able to ensure a steady stream of qualified workers. At the same time, it benefits schools, which are able to provide hands-on learning experiences and ensure students who come to their institutions will be able to get high-quality work experience and provide opportunities to reduce students’ debt burdens. Upon completion of courses, students will have an opportunity to continue their education or start on their desired career path. We need to offer our highs school students the opportunity to earn college credit while completing courses toward their high school diplomas. This gives students an advantage to place out of courses they’ve already passed while in high school. We need a clearly defined articulation agreement across the state.

We need to help students better understand how their education is integrated into future career options and what skills and credentials they need to pursue careers in manufacturing and other trades.

We must ensure that all of our state institutions are aligned, one is no more important than the other, they act as a team, with little or no internal focus. Their focus must be for the state and not for themselves. There must be a clear pathway and progression from K through 12, to a technical school and through a 4 year program. They are aligned and no credits from one institution should be lost in another. It must utilize and implement dual credit and certification opportunities where possible.

Our institutions must pool their resources, as within business they must be lean and competitive. There is not an unlimited source of funding, thus we need to ensure that the funding is directed to the areas of greatest needs within our state.

What do we believe the focus of such programs should be? First and foremost, interpersonal skills. We have lost the ability to effectively communicate in this data driven age. The ability to work and deal with people in a team environment is so very important. We need critical thinkers able to solve complex or simple problems quickly. We need to prepare people to be Managers and Supervisors within organizations. We need to keep our students in the forefront of the technological advances that are happening across manufacturing. We need to make sure that this education is again focused on the real world environment. We see Associate degrees such as a “Certified Production Technician” and Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Management. Education also needs to ensure that it understands from all industry and business within the state the credentials necessary for an individual to succeed within the positions that are available within our state.

Digitization Or Industry 4.0 is transforming how manufacturers need to think about human capital management. The workforce will need greater digital literacy and to have high-tech and collaboration skills. It will also need to be able to work cross functionally as well as with increasingly intelligent machines to bring higher levels of efficiency and productivity to the enterprise. Over the next five to 10 years, the analytic discipline applied to production will evolve and mature. In parallel, production environments will change with the addition of technologies such as 3D printing, collaborative robots, automated guided vehicles, and other advances.

If you would like to support manufacturing programs in North Dakota, click here to donate.