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Manufacturing A Workforce

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Successful K-12 Programs for Girls & Minorities

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.864.1 - 13.864.11



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Paper Authors


Stan Komacek California University of Pennsylvania

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Stan Komacek earned a BS from California University of Pennsylvania, MEd from Miami University, and EdD from West Virginia University. He served as the Project Director for the PA State System of Higher Education in PA’s Nanofabrication Manufacturing Technology Partnership and for the PA Governor’s Institute for Technology Education. A Professor of Technology Education and Chair of the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology at California University of PA, Dr. Komacek is currently PI and Project Director for the NSF ATE Advanced Manufacturing in PA Project.

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Carol Adukaitis PA State System of Higher Education

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Carol Adukaitis received a BS degree from the University of Delaware, an MS from Bloomsburg University, and an EdD from Temple University. She has been a faculty member at Reading area Community College, Temple University, and adjunct at Montgomery County Community College, and has held the position as Industry/Curriculum Coordinator at several Career and Technology Centers. She has served as a PA Department of Education Evaluator for ten Governors Institutes and was a consultant for NOCTI Assessment Development and Test Preparation for the Massachusetts Department of Education. She is currently employed by the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) on a Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) funded position as statewide Program Manager for 2+2+2 Workforce Leadership Grants. Dr. Adukaitis is co-PI on an NSF-ATE Advanced Manufacturing Project in PA.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Manufacturing a Workforce for the Future

Abstract This paper will describe the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) three-year $810,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) program to develop a full pipeline of students from grade 9 through 16 focused on careers in advanced manufacturing technology to address Pennsylvania’s critical manufacturing shortages. The NSF-ATE project focuses on recruitment and retention of students from middle school through high school to post-secondary education by marketing, recruitment, mentoring and updating manufacturing curriculum. Females and minorities receive special outreach and mentoring.

The project focuses on two PA regions: Allegheny and Washington Counties, (southwestern PA) and Lancaster County (south-central PA). The southwestern PA educational partners include California University of PA, Community College of Allegheny County, Steel Center Career and Technology High School, and five of its sending school districts. The south-central PA educational partners include Millersville University, Harrisburg Area Community College, Lancaster County Career and Technology High School, and five of its sending school districts.

Manufacturing Workforce Shortage

The impetus for the 2006 NSF-ATE proposal was continued reporting by PA manufacturers experiencing a shortage of advanced manufacturing workers. Manufacturing remains vital to Pennsylvania’s economy accounting for 12% of the employment and more than 20% of wages paid. These workforce shortages threaten PA’s manufacturing base. One explanation for the shortage is rapid technological change from a traditional labor-intensive industry to a highly technologically skilled advanced manufacturing one. A study commissioned in 2004 of the dynamics of PA manufacturing, titled Manufacturing Pennsylvania’s Future1 stated that ‘manufacturing remains an essential element of PA’s economy, contributing $64 billion annually to the Gross State Product. This is by far the largest share of any sector.’ Governor Rendell’s Manufacturing Work Group published additional findings in which business leaders reported that innovation and workforce investment were among the seven most important challenges facing PA manufacturing. The findings of a 2005 NAM Skills Gap2 reinforced previous manufacturing labor shortage reports by stating … ‘90 percent of respondents indicated a moderate to severe shortage of qualified skilled production employees. These skills shortages are having a widespread impact on manufacturers’ abilities to achieve production levels, increase productivity, and meet customer demand.’

An additional impetus for the NSF-ATE proposal was reporting in the 2003 National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing3 that recommended outreach efforts begin at the middle school. Delaying these efforts may preclude students from the required academic courses and allows time for the outdated stereotypes to take hold, eliminating manufacturing as a career choice. Today’s advanced manufacturing employees need to be educated in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Komacek, S., & Adukaitis, C. (2008, June), Manufacturing A Workforce Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3522

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