If the expected trends for the automotive industry continue as planned, we’re in for a major uptick and additional expansion. Things aren’t slowing down anytime soon, but the companies and workers still progress forward—posing room for new workers to find their place. Because of this, we must invest in the next generation of automotive workers through STEM education initiatives.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) seems to be the latest buzzword in all aspects of manufacturing—and for good reason. From playing with LEGOs as a child to working on cars or designing a project on the computer, there is plenty of opportunity to introduce STEM to the next generation and ensure a strong future. Major companies, such as Ford, are creating scholarships, hosting events, and bringing in warehouse tours to spark an interest in students.
It’s clear some of the work companies are putting in is spurring change in a positive direction. Recently, the U.S. has brought more enrollment into STEM-related studies—over four years, the U.S. saw a 7 percent increase, “just as the recession was prompting many students and families to focus on the job potential of various fields of study.”
Manufacturing as a whole is expanding, which will only continue to grow as more innovations in aerospace, construction, and other sectors. In the automotive world, it’s no secret that we need more engineers. From our point of view, we need engineers that are experts in the subject of testing and understand more than CAD—and are able to tie it into something to create a hands-on, real-world product in addition to testing a design on paper. While simulation software has continued to get better and better over time and is necessary for reduction of concept to market, it still has problems covering every possible variable both in terms of inputs as well as real world materials and manufacturing variation. After the initial design has been completed, hands on testing with proper testing equipment is necessary to apply a variety of environmental as well as design criteria to any product. Sometimes products are damaged during shipment but this damage doesn’t show up until they are in use. Variables not anticipated can affect the life of a product and by recording actual events and feeding that information into a test apparatus, these real world events can be applied to the product.
We wholly support the next generation of engineers and look forward to welcoming more talent to our Kokusai team. For more information on our company and what we do, check out our website.