U.S. manufacturing ranks today as the world’s 8th largest economy, and U.S. leadership in high-tech manufacturing continues to offer some of the best opportunities for financial reward and professional challenge. Here, in the Keystone State, we recognize the rich history and the continuing importance of manufacturing – and STEM careers – to our future.
In Pennsylvania, manufacturing accounts for $79 billion in economic impact across Pennsylvania and employs more than 569,000 people. That’s more than 18 percent higher than the statewide average for all industries — and another reason STEM education is so important.
According to the National Alliance for Partners in Equity (NAPE), the science and engineering (S&E) workforce has shown sustained growth for more than half a century. The number of workers in S&E occupations grew from about 182,000 in 1950 to 5.4 million in 2009. This represents an average annual growth rate of 5.9 percent, almost five times the 1.2-percent growth rate for the total workforce older than age 18 during this period.
Workforce growth in S&E occupations from 2000 to 2009 was slower than in the preceding two decades. Nonetheless, at 1.4 percent growth annually, it exceeded the 0.2-percent growth rate for the general workforce. In addition, many workers outside S&E occupations have STEM training or use related knowledge and skills in their jobs. In fact, 75 percent of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. workforce today require significant mathematics or science skills.
Experts say that by 2018, the number of available STEM jobs is expected to grow significantly, specifically in fields that involve computers (growing by 51 percent), engineers and technicians (28 percent), life and physical sciences (13 percent) and architecture (6 percent). Those with these skills should expect to have their pick of great jobs.
Indeed, employers have ramped up efforts to show middle- and high-school students how STEM fields relate to real-life situations. Mentoring, sponsored summer courses, educational events and contests soliciting creative scientific approaches to community problems have helped spark interest in STEM, but the new challenge is finding a way for students to hone the other skills they’ll need to be successful in a STEM job.
Here, in our 8th annual Made in PA issue of the Business Magazine, we’ll showcase some of the companies that are impacted by manufacturing and STEM-related fields here in the Keystone State, as well as the businesses, such as ERIEBANK, which are helping them grow their operations. In addition, we’ll talk with Tamarack Packaging about how they’ve reached new heights in their manufacturing operations, We’ll also take a look at many of the manufacturers that are creating jobs, opportunity and wealth right here in our own backyard.
The Manufacturer & Business Association is proud to support these member companies and all those that manufacturer and do business in Pennsylvania. Be sure to save the date for more exciting news coming shortly for our 2017 Manufacturing Day on October 11 at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie!