By AMBER STEWART
Eight students from Fairview High School are spending today touring local manufacturing plants as Williamson Inc. says there is a gap in the workforce to fill skilled manufacturing jobs.
Williamson, Inc., and Williamson County Schools are celebrating National Manufacturing Day today by taking 48 students from Fairview High School to tour local manufacturing plants.
The students, enrolled in Fairview High School’s new Mechatronics program have stops at APCOM, Flash Technology and Horn USA, all located in Franklin.
Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of engineering that includes systems engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering, control engineering and computer engineering.
Manufacturing makes up the nation’s ninth largest economy, and according to the National Association of Manufacturers, it supports one-in-six private sector jobs.
However, many Americans see manufacturing jobs as undesirable. National Manufacturing Day is a coordinated national effort to combat existing stigma against these jobs. Williamson, Inc. writes, “There is an increasing demand for highly skilled professionals in the manufacturing sector who can design, program and operate technology, but…an aging workforce and antiquated misperceptions have led to a gap in skilled labor.”
Williamson County schools currently offer nineteen different Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, however many of these are targeted toward the Corporate Headquarters, Health Care, and Information Technology industries. Although Information Technology, Programming, and Engineering programs located throughout the county can also contribute to more manufacturing careers.