The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) recently released a national action plan, Workforce Imperative: A Manufacturing Education Strategy, which calls on manufacturers, educators, professional organizations, and government to coordinate and standardize efforts aimed at preparing a skilled workforce for the high-tech manufacturing jobs of today and tomorrow. The white paper was unveiled at the 2012 International Manufacturing Technology Show held in September at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

The paper addresses the current crisis faced by manufacturing, in which 600,000 jobs are unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers. By 2015, that number is projected to reach 3 million openings. The report calls on all stakeholders to work together to close this gap through measures such as attracting more students into manufacturing, articulating a standard core of manufacturing knowledge, improving the consistency and quality of manufacturing education, and integrating manufacturing topics into STEM education.

SME’s white paper is the culmination of two years of research by the Society’s task force on the role of SME in higher education and members of SME’s Manufacturing Education and Research Community, who closely examined the state of manufacturing education. The research was conducted through a series of events held to discuss manufacturing education. For more information and to download the paper, visit sme.org/workforceimperative.