Published in collaboration with NCMS
Digital Manufacturing Report

News & information about the fast-moving world
of digital manufacturing, modeling & simulation

Language Flags

Blog: DM Zone

DM Zone | Main Blog Index

Training or Technology - Why Not Both?

Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical and the man President Obama picked to co-chair the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), commented in a recent interview that US unemployment will hover around present levels for years.

He said that the weak construction industry is a major cause of our present economic malaise and joblessness will continue until new, robust sectors arise to replace it.

Manufacturing is one of those sectors — in fact, it may be key. In response to the AMP announcement, Senior Senator Carl Levin, Michigan, said, "For too long, leaders in Washington have looked at manufacturing as yesterday's news, and that was bad news for Michigan. But this new partnership shows Washington has recognized the importance of manufacturing."

With a jumpstart from AMP, along with a host of national and regional initiatives, advanced manufacturing could play a vital role in the revitalization of our economy. (For an example of one major initiative, see Jon Riley's article, "A PIC for Bob" that describes the strategy for a national network of Predictive Innovation Centers, or PICs).

It was in this context that two recent announcements caught our attention. Both focused on job creation in the manufacturing sector. And they raise an interesting question.

Jobs in West Virginia, Training in New Mexico

Last week, Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill to create jobs in West Virginia and throughout the country by providing workers with training in advanced manufacturing.

Despite its cumbersome name — the High-Tech Job Opportunities Between our Shores ACT (High-Tech JOBS Act) — the bill has some laudable goals. Said Rockefeller, "I have been working with West Virginians and in Congress on new ideas to create jobs, promote manufacturing in our state and throughout the country, and keep American business competitive.... It would create good manufacturing jobs by providing essential training, particularly in communities throughout our state. It's in our best interest to make sure that American workers have the skills they need to get these high-tech jobs."

Several weeks ago, some 1,400 miles to the west of West Virginia, the New Mexico Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) made its own modest contribution to combat unemployment. JTIP approved $113,653 in funding to help create 37 new jobs in the state. The money will be used to help reimburse companies for a portion of their training costs associated with job creation.

The recent recipients included a radiator manufacturer, a company that tests photovoltaic modules, a manufacturer of gas chemistry analyzers, and a software firm that develops computer-aided engineering applications. All are SMMs (small- to medium-sized manufacturers) and, most likely, all are members of the "missing middle," companies not taking full advantage of advances in digital manufacturing.

In both cases, funds are earmarked for training workers in the skills needed to handle today's more complex, technology-oriented manufacturing jobs. Certainly a worthwhile goal.

Bankrolling Digital Manufacturing

But what about the other half of the equation — allocating funds to SMMs for the adoption of advanced manufacturing technology that will allow them to be more inventive, efficient, and competitive?

By bringing digital manufacturing techniques to bear on their manufacturing processes — for example, cutting cost and time to market by replacing physical prototyping with computer-generated modeling and simulation — these companies will broaden their marketshare and, in the process, generate more jobs.

If manufacturing is to lead the way to a revival of US industry and the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs, the adoption of high-performance computing technology by the SMMs is just as important as training the workforce in the latest advanced manufacturing techniques. They are two sides of the same coin.

Posted by John Kirkley - July 12, 2011 @ 6:15 PM, Pacific Daylight Time

RSS Feeds

Subscribe to All Content

John Kirkley

John Kirkley

John Kirkley
Editor, Digital Manufacturing Report

More John Kirkley

Recent Comments

No Recent Blog Comments

Feature Articles

Titan Puts a New Spin on GE’s Wind Turbine Research

Unlike traditional energy sources, wind is a trouble to tame, which has led GE to turn to advanced simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to put the technology on track to cover 12 percent of the world's energy production.

Lighting a Fire Under Combustion Simulation

Combustion simulation might seem like the ultimate in esoteric technologies, but auto companies, aircraft firms and fuel designers need increasingly sophisticated software to serve the needs of 21st century engine designs. HPCwire recently got the opportunity to take a look at Reaction Design, one of the premier makers of combustion simulation software, and talk with its CEO, Bernie Rosenthal.

D-Wave Sells First Quantum Computer

On Wednesday, D-Wave Systems made history by announcing the sale of the world's first commercial quantum computer. The buyer was Lockheed Martin Corporation, who will use the machine to help solve some of their "most challenging computation problems." D-Wave co-founder and CTO Geordie Rose talks about the new system and the underlying technology.

Short Takes

Local Motors and ORNL Partner for Automotive Manufacturing

Jan 24, 2014 | Local Motors, a vehicle innovator, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced a new partnership that they hope will bring change to the automotive industry.

Robots Showcase Skills at DRC

Jan 22, 2014 | A month ago, the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials (DRC) commenced. The main goal of the event was to aid in the development of robots that will someday respond to natural or even man-made disasters. At this year’s DRC, prototype robots from 16 teams were put through a series of trials in which they were to showcase their skills.

Engineers Develop Microwindmills to Power Electronics

Jan 17, 2014 | Engineers at the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a new technology that could come in handy when electronic devices run out of power. Their idea stems from a source of power generation that we are all familiar with; windmills.

Advanced Modeling Benefits Wind Farms

May 25, 2011 | Advanced computing resources optimize the site selection of wind farms.

Not Your Parents' CFD

Oct 13, 2010 | Outdated beliefs stand in the way of greater CFD adoption.

Sponsored Whitepapers

Technical Computing for a New Era

07/30/2013 | IBM | This white paper examines various means of adapting technical computing tools to accelerate product and services innovation across a range of commercial industries such as manufacturing, financial services, energy, healthcare, entertainment and retail. No longer is technically advanced computing limited to the confines of big government labs and academic centers. Today it is available to a wide range of organizations seeking a competitive edge.

The UberCloud HPC Experiment: Compendium of Case Studies

06/25/2013 | Intel | The UberCloud HPC Experiment has achieved the volunteer participation of 500 organizations and individuals from 48 countries with the aim of exploring the end-to-end process employed by digital manufacturing engineers to access and use remote computing resources in HPC centers and in the cloud. This Compendium of 25 case studies is an invaluable resource for engineers, managers and executives who believe in the strategic importance of applying advanced technologies to help drive their organization’s productivity to perceptible new levels.

Copyright © 2011-2014 Tabor Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Digital Manufacturing Report is a registered trademark of Tabor Communications, Inc. Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Tabor Communications Inc. is prohibited.
Powered by Xtenit.