Industrial Automation / Artificial Intelligence / Changing Workforce / Skills Gap

Perspective: Artificial intelligence and automation — the U.S. manufacturing challenge

By Thomas Hemphill, University of Michigan-Flint, for Inside Sources

Apr 08, 2019

In the U.S. manufacturing sector, there are “production-focused” positions that are low-skilled and “skilled production” positions that require specific training to develop complex skill-sets. As to the future of production-focused positions, the manufacturing sector is choosing to eliminate them through increased automation.

However, for skilled production positions, more than half of manufacturing executives in the skills gap study cite technology/computer skills, digital skills, programming skills for robots/automation, working with tools and technology, and critical thinking skills to be in demand over the next three years.

what is the U.S. manufacturing sector doing beyond turning more to automation and AI to address the sector's skills shortage and reduce a troubling employment gap?

Thirty-nine percent of manufacturers report that they are implementing new learning and development programs internally and externally. Moreover, 77 percent of manufacturers are prioritizing competencies and potential in job candidates over strict adherence to factors such as years of experience, and 65 percent acknowledge they are willing to train employees on the job. In addition, many manufacturers are developing knowledge transfer programs and short-term project opportunities for retirees, and 83 percent of manufacturers are reportedly prepared to pay more to attract and retain skilled talent.

Read the full perspective, "Artificial intelligence and automation: The U.S. manufacturing challenge," at

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