“Automotive manufacturing” often brings to mind gritty black and white images of greasy factory floors and jumpsuits hammering out cars in a Henry-Ford-era assembly line. And while manufacturing itself still requires a good bit of brains and brawn, the scales have definitely tipped in favor of smart technology and clean workspaces.
The Detroit News recently released an article on the workforce skills gap created by the high pace of technological advancement in automotive manufacturing. Companies are starting to use complex technologies such as Google Glass and other forms of “wearable technology” to monitor not only the status of machines on the shop floor, but also the well-being of other workers. The result is a more efficient, safer work environment.
In Mississippi, these improvements could play a particularly interesting role in our automotive manufacturing workforce training and hiring processes, particularly for major players like Toyota and Nissan. While production efficiency will likely run its usual cycle of lower prices and fewer workers, this could actually be beneficial in a state like Mississippi. Lower prices play well to consumers, and a large percentage of the decrease in hiring needs will be consumed by the high volume of workers expected to retire over the next 5-10 years. In other words, we can meet the demands of a new, highly skilled workforce by highlighted the importance of skilled vocational training in our next generation. This is great news for Mississippi and its automotive industry leaders.