Manufacturer Takes Steps to Address a Shrinking U.S. Manufacturing Workforce

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Watlow®, an industry leader in the design and manufacture of complete thermal systems, has been working to bolster a shrinking manufacturing workforce in the U.S., and its efforts have been recognized. The Missouri Association of Manufacturers (MAM) has awarded Watlow a Made in Missouri Leadership Award because of the company's support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, training programs and economic development initiatives. Watlow is involved in MAM's SkillSource Initiative, as well as a partnership with Ranken Technical College, who also received the award.

"It is important for manufacturers to address the shortage of employees in the U.S. who have a background in STEM," said Peter Desloge, CEO and president of Watlow. "The need for skilled workers is increasing, and Watlow, like other manufacturers, believes it is critical to invest in both STEM education and training programs to close the gap."

MAM reports that "the manufacturing industry is in crisis" due to this workforce shortage. Through 2025, close to 3.5 million manufacturing jobs are likely to open, but two million will remain unfilled because there are not enough workers with the right skill sets, according to the 2015 Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Skills Gap Study.

Watlow has partnered with Ranken to recruit and train people on the technical skills needed in a modern manufacturing setting. The two organizations have participated in job fairs and co-op programs in the areas of maintenance, machinists and technicians. Watlow is considering shifting the manufacturing of one of its electric heater lines to Ranken in 2018. This would help Watlow further support its customers by identifying and training future technical team members from Ranken.

Watlow participates in more than 50 STEM events annually at its locations across the U.S. In St. Louis, the company started a program with high school students at an all-girls' school, Cor Jesu Academy, in 2013 to encourage more girls to enter STEM fields of study. Watlow also offers STEM scholarships for team members' children to attend camps as well as for college.

Watlow serves numerous industries, including semiconductor processing, environmental chambers, energy processes, diesel emissions, medical and foodservice equipment. Established in 1922, the company holds more than 450 patents and operates nine manufacturing facilities and three technology centers in the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia.

Terri Waters

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