GE Launches Brilliant Skills Curriculum to Train Workers for Digital Industrial Future

Proprietary curriculum 'Brilliant Learning' will seek to train more than 150,000 global supply chain employees to fill gaps in Digital Industrial Workforce

A3 to Kick Off Automate 2017 with White Paper on Jobs in the Automation Age

The white paper explores the impact of automation on the ever-evolving job market and the growing shortage of skilled employees with experience and training in advanced technologies. A3 examines the types of jobs that are going unfilled and reviews workforce development initiatives, including education, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training that will fill labor shortages and support ongoing economic growth and productivity.

Staying Rich Without Manufacturing Will Be Hard

Noah Smith for Bloomberg View: Discussions about manufacturing tend to get very contentious. Many economists and commentators believe that there's nothing inherently special about making things and that efforts to restore U.S. manufacturing to its former glory reek of industrial policy, protectionism, mercantilism and antiquated thinking.

Mnuchin on robots taking US jobs: 'It's not even on our radar screen ... 50-100 more years' away

David Reid for CNBC: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was not worried about the mass displacement of U.S. workers by robots and could be a century before a labor crisis eventuates. "It's not even on our radar screen ... 50-100 more years," Mnuchin said.

Japan worker shortage has only one winner so far: robots

Leo Lewis for Financial Times:  Earlier this week, Japanese TV audiences glimpsed a potentially revolutionary contraption from the Matsue College of Technology that rapidly separates closed shijimi clamshells into those with a live mollusc inside and those without. Cut to footage of a human sorter, expertly performing the same function at a rate of just 90 kgs of shijimi per day and whose job this machine seems destined to replace. In other parts of the world, the juxtaposition could seem cruel or politically charged; in Japan, it is almost celebratory.  The great conundrum for investors — and increasing preoccupation of sellside analysts attempting to talk clients out of underweight Japan positions — is whether the equity market provides a neat play on Japan’s deepening worker shortage and the promised surge in wages that has to date been all gong and no dinner.   Cont'd...

Hot Jobs Study Reports Manufacturing a Top Industry

For entry level manufacturing positions, higher education is not normally required. Instead, a personal and commercial driver's license, and special certifications such as an Occupational Safety & Health Administration Certification, Food Safety Program education, and HAZMAT endorsement, can make a candidate more qualified when applying to manufacturing jobs.

MakerBot is laying off a third of its staff, narrowing focus under Stratasys

Shawn Knight for TechSpot:  3D printing ordinary household goods may be able to save users a bit of coin but consumers aren’t buying it – literally – and that’s forcing one company to downsize its workforce. In what is becoming a common occurrence, MakerBot recently announced additional restructuring that’ll see the company shed 30 percent of its staff. CEO Nadav Goshen said greater focus on long-term goals is key to their success and to get there, they must reduce the “pressure and distraction” of chasing short-term market trends and focus on their core products. The executive didn’t say which divisions would be hit hardest, nor do we know exactly how many employees are being let go although TechCrunch estimates the figure is probably between 80 and 100. Specifically, MakerBot will be integrating hardware and software product development under one team that’ll be led by VP of Engineering Dave Veisz. Current Director of Digital Products, Lucas Levin, is also being promoted to VP of Product, we’re told, and will lead product management across hardware and software.   Cont'd...

Closing US Manufacturing Trade Deficit Would Create 1.3M Jobs, Says Tech Think Tank

The prevailing narrative says automation was the main culprit behind U.S. manufacturing job losses in the early 2000s, and that automation is now powering an unprecedented manufacturing technology revolution that will continue to displace jobs. But a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) finds that both of these claims are false.  ITIF, a leading tech-policy think tank, finds that trade pressure and faltering U.S. competitiveness were responsible for more than two-thirds of the 5.7 million manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2010. And rather than entering a "fourth industrial revolution," U.S. manufacturing productivity growth is actually near an all-time low. In light of these facts, ITIF concludes that U.S. policymakers should aim to close the country's trade deficit in manufactured goods by fighting foreign mercantilism and pursuing a national competitiveness agenda that hinges in part on boosting manufacturing productivity rates. The report estimates that successfully closing the manufacturing goods trade deficit this way would create 1.3 million jobs.     Full Press Release:

Oerlikon expands additive manufacturing R&D and production capacity in the US

Oerlikon announced today that it is expanding its global additive manufacturing (AM) business with a state-of-the-art R&D and production facility for additively manufactured advanced components in the Charlotte metro area in North Carolina, USA. Oerlikon will invest around CHF55million in this facility in 2017 and 2018, and expects to create over 100 new jobs at this site over the longer term. As part of Oerlikon's strategy to become a global powerhouse in surface solutions and advanced materials, the Group has identified additional growth areas such as additive manufacturing, which leverages its strong materials heritage, service reputation, access to markets, applications across industries and core competence in intelligently engineering and processing advanced materials and surface technologies.  Full Press Release:  Â

U.S. investors see more automation, not jobs, under Trump administration

David Randall for Reuters:   When U.S. President-elect Donald Trump criticized United Technologies Corp's (UTX.N) Carrier unit in November for its plan to move some 800 jobs to Mexico, the parent-company made a swift decision to keep the factory in Indiana. Yet, the move did not translate into saving jobs. Instead, the company decided it would move toward automation as a way to cut costs. "We're going to make up [the] $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate, to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive," chief executive Greg Hayes said on CNBC last month. "What that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs." Swapping robots and software for human labor has underpinned much of the productivity gains in the United States over the last 25 years. Now, with a greater political push to keep factories at home, investors are betting that automation will gain speed in industries ranging from auto manufacturing to chicken processing to craft beer breweries.   Cont'd...

Chiefs hold back on smart factories after backlash

Peggy Hollinger for Financial Times:  General Electric, one of the world’s biggest industrial companies, estimates that digitising industrial machinery, networks and processes will not just bring down the costs of manufacturing. The data it generates will open new business opportunities, such as optimising maintenance schedules for customers or improving the design and quality of products. The resulting “industrial internet”, GE argues, has the potential to deliver global productivity improvements that could add $10tn-15tn to global GDP over 20 years. No manufacturer can ignore the coming revolution. Yet many, in developed economies at least, are wary. A backlash against globalisation, fuelled by decades of decline in America’s rust belt and the erosion of blue-collar jobs, has already upset the status quo in the US, where Donald Trump’s protectionist slogans helped him to win the White House. Almost half the 1,370 chief executives questioned in PwC’s annual Global CEO survey published this week fear that this latest industrial revolution will feed further distrust among their companies’ stakeholders — whether they be investors, employees or the wider public.   Cont'd...

Sharp Executive Says Plan for Foxconn LCD Plant in U.S. is Still 'On The Table'

Mitchel Broussard for MacRumors:  Foxconn and Sharp are looking closer than ever to building a manufacturing plant within the United States, according to one Sharp executive who said that the plan is still "on the table" (via Nikkei). The plant would mainly be focused on the manufacturing of LCD panels for TV sets and home appliances, but Foxconn is said to be considering moving iPhone production stateside as well.  The news continues a rumor from last year born out of President-elect Donald Trump's comments on wanting Apple to make its products stateside. Foxconn laid out plans for such a move in December, along with Japan-based SoftBank Group, with each company hoping to create a combined 100,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next four years.    Cont'd...

Japan's Rust Belt Counting on Robonomics to Run Assembly Lines

Yoshiaki Nohara, Toru Fujioka, and Daniel Moss for Bloomberg:   A withering factory town in Japan’s Rust Belt is looking for revival through a dose of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s "robot revolution." Kadoma’s population has declined 13 percent as the nation ages, prompting mergers among elementary schools and emergency services departments. Factories can’t find enough people to run assembly lines, further threatening an industrial base that includes titan Panasonic Corp. and smaller businesses like Izumo Co., a maker of industrial rubber. Yet Izumo President Tsutomu Otsubo doesn’t believe the solution involves finding more people. He’d rather find more machines to do the work so his company can capitalize on Abe’s plan to quadruple Japan’s robotics sector into a 2.4 trillion yen ($20 billion) industry by 2020.   Cont'd...

Seven Career Paths Opening With the Industrial IoT

Joe McKendrick for RTInsights:  From maintenance experts to solution sellers, the industrial IoT offers numerous career opportunities. If you’re looking for an IoT career, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) doesn’t sound quite as glamorous as the broader IoT, which promises smart homes, smart cars, smart cities, wearable sensors, and everything else that can be outsmarted in daily life. But for IoT careers, industry is actually where most of the action will be taking place, and when you drill down and look what’s happening, a lot of this work can be far more rewarding and impactful than building smart toasters. This encompasses a range of activities, from real-time tracking tools and parts at industrial sites to analyzing data coming in from machinery, engines and power plants. The sky’s the limit.   Cont'd...

Robots won't kill the workforce. They'll save the global economy.

Ruchir Sharma for The Washington Post:   The United Nations forecasts that the global population will rise from 7.3 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050, a big number that often prompts warnings about overpopulation. Some have come from neo-Malthusians, who fear that population growth will outstrip the food supply, leaving a hungry planet. Others appear in the tirades of anti-immigrant populists, invoking the specter of a rising tide of humanity as cause to slam borders shut. Still others inspire a chorus of neo-Luddites, who fear that the “rise of the robots” is rapidly making human workers obsolete, a threat all the more alarming if the human population is exploding. Before long, though, we’re more likely to treasure robots than to revile them. They may be the one thing that can protect the global economy from the dangers that lie ahead.   Cont'd...

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