Survey: What Should a New Engineering Grad Know?

July 11, 2012
These are the verbatim responses to select questions in the Automation World 2012 Education Survey.

Survey Question: Recent research shows there are quite a good number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates in the pipeline, the problem seems to be that they do not want to go into manufacturing, that the “factory” may be suffering from an image problem.  How did you decide manufacturing/processing was right for you?  Did you know all along? What would tell a new engineering grad about the factory job environment?

· It's fast paced, high tech.  It's much more complex and interesting than what it first appears.

·  I didn't know that manufacturing was right for me, but the job offer seemed to be the best one.  I'd inform new engineering students that manufacturing can be just a high-tech as other engineering fields.

·  Manufacturing is how you get your products and patents to market. Our company is vertically integrated.

·  ship it to Mexico or China

·  That the manufacturing process has become quite advanced and there are many challenges to maintaining as well as staying ahead of your competitors through the use of technology and data collection.

·  "I have chosen to work at the academy instead of the industry, but working as a professor I have contacts with professionals in the industry I say to my students that, no matter were you are working at, you need to have a high qualification and dedication to your job, doing this way you will be recognized and have a brilliant professional career"

·  Interest in control and automation naturally pulled me into processing industries.

·  Advanced automation experience from my previous work experience. Depending on employer advanced automation can be ever expanding.

·  It fit my hands on interest.  I could see the results of my work rather than just a small piece of the entire work.  I did not consider manufacturing until I started interviewing and learning more about it.  The environment is fast paced and allows you to see the end result of your work.  There are so many interesting and complicated machines to do manufacturing.

·  1st there is not much manufacturing in the US anymore.  If you like to build stuff manufacturing is great.

·  I am a consultant who designs custom system for manufacturers.  The biggest problem with getting in as a factory level engineer is that you typically do less engineering and more maintenance.  That is not so much a problem with the factory environment, but rather due to corporate structures.  Most manufacturing companies cut costs by severely limiting the size of their engineering staffs.  That puts the staff in firefighter mode, having to jump from problem to problem rather than having the time to engineer a good solution.  When the big and interesting projects come in, they usually use outside systems integrators to do the engineering work.

·  After the Navy, most jobs that seemed to fit my electrical/electronic experience were in manufacturing or other industrial environments.  Once there, and having adapted Navy training to civilian systems, I've remained. Working with switches, motors, and everything electrical my whole life, it has been something I wanted to do all along, and Manufacturing/processing is where there is a lot of that type of stuff to go around.

·  I decide manufacturing with my first job. No, I didn't know all along.Tha factory is amazing, if you like engineer, you will like the factory

·  The see and feel the real product is much much better feeling than "virtual".

·  At the time of my graduation in 1979,IT was not there.Production and Manufacturing jobs were attractive.Factory shop floor experience was necessary for career growth as it gives people management and team working skills.

·  The problem is more basic.  Companies no longer spend time and money on mentoring new engineers.  A good "mentoring" experience would include a rotation through engineering, research, and production jobs.  Not all companies can provide that, but a well-rounded individual will find a way to get that experience.

·  You have to give them good intern asignments. My intern assignment was great. Too often the company just dumps interns into Departments without adequate preparation

·  It is very rewarding and appeals to people who like to see the result of their actions.

·  I didn't have many choises and the payment was better. I would tell the beginning is not easy, he would learn to talk with different people with diferent knowledges, ages and behaviors.

·  High technology factories need highly skilled workers that get above-average salaries. The old style production line staffed with poorly qualified workers has moved off-shore. Our modern production requires workers with appropriate training.

·  It is what I have done since I graduated HS.

·  Be practical with Pic´s,PLC,LabView,MatLab,CIM

·  During school I co-oped at a paper mill and learned that I enjoyed being involved with heavy industry. There is a lot to be said for job security and a steady paycheck.

·  Don't accept that all manufacturing jobs will be sent offshore,  there are pleny of opportnities and strong business cases to manufacture in the US and to do so competitively.  Look for Automation as a method to make higher quality and better products.  Not just hardware automtion but process automation.

·  I always wanted to design AND build. Any good engineer should also be willing to get their hands dirty with tools. I would emphasize to the new grad that the factory environment is critical for understanding the reality of what is deigned "on paper"

·  like to problem solve

·  give it a try, they will find it surprisingly nicel

·  Process is a natual meet between computers and hand on work

·  Being a career Field Service Eng, I view in house production support as a service industry. I just have a problem with imbedded hammer mechanic maintenance personnel and the treachery of coworkers which I never had to deal with in the field. I’m getting ready to return to the field because of it.

·  Na

·  like working with my hands and figering out problems.

·  manufacturing provides an environment that is constantly changing. It provide opportunities to work in multiple aspects of a technical vocation.

·  Not familiar with above.

·  I never thought I would be with an automation supplier and always looked into working in a plant.  There are manufacturing jobs outside of the factory with automation OEMs and integrators.

·  For me, it just sort of happened.  I would tell a new grad that it is steady employment, usually with sufficient off time, and depending on the place can be very interesting and/or challenging.

·  Good and excite place to work but the salaries are depressed.

·  I am in technical sales.  It can be very interesting but it is not a 40 hour week.

·  Do not suggest.

·  You don't get rained upon.

·  20 years of doing maintenance in the US Navy. No.  The smaller the company the more hats you wear.

· There is always a possibility that manufacturing jobs will be automated or outsourced. However, manufacturing-related knowledge can be applied to a large extent in many other industries (e.g., health care, services, etc.). Also, knowing how things are made is important for understanding environmental issues, sustainability, energy use, etc. Also, manufacturing today is not what you can see on the Diego Rivera mural in Detroit - there is less hard labor and certainly more thinking skills required. However, manufacturing know-how has spread around the world and is no longer an exclusive component of competitive advantage - it has to be paired with design, innovation, and understanding the market opportunities.

·  yes. it is a great opportunity for people which perform

·  Factory is like a school to University so in my view new graduate should not afraid from factory. It is the place where you realize whether your theory realy works or not?

·  Always technically minded

·  Yes, I want to know all along

·  strictly by chance

·  This a very important matter

·  Word of mouth

·  I was always good with my hands and enjoyed troubleshooting. I started with a technical school then went to the university. Never got too far away from the shop floor. Today people are either afraid to work or don't want to work.

·  Full of experience, but lower salary than EPCs

·  Nothing

·  Fell into manufacturing by accident.  I would talk about the feeling when you see something you have made on a supermarket shelf; about the difference that your work makes to everyone's lives; about the cointribution you can make to a sustainable future

·  In a manufacturing we can lern more faster, there are always new challanges and is newer boring. I like a new challanges, and that is the best place to lern, get experience.

·  Henry Ford philosophy that technology help human beeings. It is the only way to increase productivity and salaries

·  Most whant the status of management & financial gain & do not want to spend the time involved to learn & keep up with current technology.

·  It is a mixture betwen pratctical and theoretical. The problem is that in university, you are outside the real world. After four years, you think that real world is University. Maybe, it could be a good experience, working in a plant with no knowledge, making basic task. Then, going to university with the motivation of improving your work could be a good asset.

·  the factory job environment is tough, but face with real problem you can have a lot satisfaction

·  "1) Look into the process; 2) Tell about some theory; 3) Discuss the future"

·  "The problem what i have seen yet in my career in manufacturing plant is the pressure of work with time, the production aim planned per day and reach to that goal by rectifying all the problems is not that easy, one has to be very sincere and energetic to solve all the problems and  bear the pressure.

·  despite of all these things and problems one should not forget the importance of manufacturing industry in economy growth and not only in growth even in economy run. every time when recession came in industry, also some time like 1929 time, recession came because of manufacturing industry.

·  we have to make a positive image of manufacturing job environment and will try to reduce the pressure of work to easily get the aim. industry needs to change its protocol again."

·  Stumbled into Automation by coincindence rather than by a planned approach. New engineering grad's are being told about the benefits, including but not limited to renumeration and other benefits but also creativity, contribution to the community etc.

·  It has to be experienced.  Such experience is a very personal thing.

·  I think work in factories is very useful, specially for young engineers, because they will meet problems from different area and often multidisciplinary knowledge is necessary, which is crucial for engineer experience. I have spend almost all professional career working in factory

·  "May be more about the prospects about the career graph can be explained before the job fair in a college.

·  Frankly speaking fresh graduates needs manufacturing or industry job rather than a software programmer bcos of the core degree (mech/electrical/production branch of Engg.)"

·  "manufacturing has several divisions (specialties): production (hands-on) (technical); maintenance (hands-on) (technical); planning (STEM area); product engineering (STEM area); operations design (STEM area)"

·  Yes I have it as goal from the very beginig

·  Whatever you do but there is someone else who control the destiny,I think that manufacturing/processing  is also learning there may be some hurdles initially but with that experience you will be the one who will train other in future.

·  Choice was by opportunity during an economic slump

·  I could see fieldbus, wireless, and computers coming and selected the correct workplace accordingly. Plants have to modernize to enable fieldbus and wireless, with diagnostics and device management remotely from computers. Youngsters expect equipment to be networked and digital. Analog is so 1960's that nobody wants to work with it. Plants must step into the 21st centure to attract those born in the age if the Internet.

·  Robotics will give them the trill of a lifetime.

·  the right manufacturing environment can be exciting and enjoyable.  You have to look for an orginization that fits your desires.

·  It is the only place to make a fair wage. You must be a politician ass well as a good engineer

·  I have always liked programming hardware. I have worked on platforms from military aircraft, uninterruptible power supplies, POS terminals, and research robotics. Factory and machine automation design is crucial to process efficiencies, workforce Morale improvement and company bottom line.

·  The factory job environment is terrible (thanks in no small part to the awful job that vendors and trade publications are doing), but working as a contractor in automation is great.

·  "I chose the design field in manufacturing and have always had a keen interest in innovation, problem solving and designing better equipment I am currently leaving manufacturing after 47 years and beginning to teach at a 2 year technical college in NE Georgia.  I STRONGLY believe that industry needs better trained technical people."

·  Internship exposed me to the industry and made me pursue that avenue

·  it is a chalenging world, technology is changing with the speed of light. North America is seriously behind Europe in terms of technology therefore there is plenty to be done in North Amercia in order to keep up and eventually take a technological lead, worldwide

·  the opportunity to try new ideas based on situations help the learning curve, I suggest more apprenticeships.

·  It's just the way things moved.  I needed a joj and then things developed from there

·  Factory is interesting, but not suitable to everyone. You should tell a new engineering grad about both positive and negative sides about factory.

·  I wanted to be on the leading edge of the processes to define a finished product and ensure that product would delight the customer and even go beyond their expectations.  There is nothing like the feeling of developing a process that provides a great product to a customer and that customer comes back and says "this is great, thanks"

·  "If you like an ever changing environment where your pronlem solving skills are best utilized, manufacturing is where you need to be.  Having an

·  environment of continuous improvement in willAmericus give youme the solid skills toaredomostyou anything innew your careerdriviiexcellence will yield"

·  With my educational background, I did not have many choices in selecting my career.  I had to jump on to whatever an offer with "proper" hiring.  But I realized that manufacturing company was generous about "gender" - which means men and women are treated nearly equal.  I was treated fairly equaly with others.

·  I did the apprenticeship and learned the job and studied further and learned the industry and the environment.

·  Was forced in, but liked eversince. Interesting challenges

·  i was in manufacturing & got into automation from learning how it worked on the job then did the training required to be able to work in the automtion industry.

·  I enjoy developing methods and processes

·  I grew up in a machine shop

·  You need to love the profession and not be worried about schedule or rolling time in the job

·  I took a job to get started with a good company  - the fact that it had to do with manufacturing was secondary.  After I got my feet wet I realized how much I liked it.

·  "I now work in a highly automated factor where we process order for electronic payments.  The capital is investment is relatively low and it's much less messy.  I do miss programming physical things to move. You will benefit from any job, including at the factory, by knowing how to leverage to productivity power of a computer."

·  It was the only position I landed at the time, but I soon moved out of manufacturing into sales.

·  It's fun to figure out how to solve problems and make things work better

·  It is often dirty, and there are some personnel issues... but it is nice to make things, and see the finished product come out the other end.

·  It is where the jobs were.

·  Had a good chaperone who guided well my first steps and showed me how exciting this could be

·  Manufacturing is an interesting job because you create something to satisfy others. First one must follow the safety rules strictly in the factory job environment and must have the enthusiasm to learn and correlate the theory with the practical so that one can develop creativity and this leads to continuous improvement of the process and product.

·  I grew up with dirty hands, exploring mechanical structures.  To this day I enjoy going through customer facilities, it gives me the opportunity to see how different companies solve(d) their problems and challenges.  I would never get to appreciate the creativity and ingenuity , if I was not involved in manufacturing.

·  job selection is usually adentified on individual choice of career,manufacturing  would better for a skilfull and intelligent engineer if there is good innovation ,career and motivation.

·  Got in through design group supporting manufacturing.  Depending on the products you're supporting, manufacturing can be extremely high tech and frequently involves lots of hands-on by engineering.

·  Water is neccesary.

·  tour the community college and industry

·  Chance encounter. Now I have been in processing so long I am afraid to change.

·  I just knew that was what I wanted to do.  Regarding #8 above and the image issue, students today need to know today's manufacturing "is not your father's manufacturing".

·  I started with a Chemistry degree and was already working in mfg when I went back to school to study engineering. That wasn't my final goal, as I wound up as a consulting engineer. The factory environment is great for learning and a solid career choice. Unfortunately, it doesn't have that instantaneous appeal that today's youth find appealing (such as Twitter and texting!).

·  Compensation is always a good motivator.

·  I believe that it is more about income than interest. Process engineers can have a better erning potential in the energy field than in manufacturing.

·  Focus on emerging market segments to support a rewarding career.

·  Born into it.

·  "I went to school just as microprocessor design was being taught. I loved computers and software programming so I knew I wanted to do something that involved computers. In my senior year, I interview with Westinghouse and found that computers were being used for industrial automation and control. Since this was just becoming widely accepted in manufacturing, there was a very high demand for engineers with computer backgrounds. I was sold at that point. Prior to that meeting, I was not sure how I would use my engineering degree.

·  As far as what I would tell a new grad about manufacturing. Well, I would want them to know that just about everything they touch was the innovation of someone who ultimately used manufacturing as the means to get it in the hands of those who need it. Food, clothing, cars, homes, medicine, city infrastructure, water, power and this list goes on. If you like innovation, manufacturing is the place to be. I know some very remarkable people who are now running major organizations that started in manufacturing."

·  hands on is rewarding - immediate feedback

·  If you want to see science in action - get into manufacturing, processing.  You'll see real products produced by real machines using technology and applied science.

·  It has not been planned.

·  I love working with my hands,designing something and then making it had no comparison.

·  In the past manufacturing was a good fit because you were exposed to many different technologies and there was a lot of work. This is now only some what true, the manufacturing sector has taken a hit over the past number of years. The industry has become to unstable, with many layoffs when the economy slows down. I would not highly recommend this sector currently.

·  I came into automation after the collapse of the telecommunications industry.  I would tell a new engineering grad that it isn't your father's factory anymore.  It has as many if not more high tech challenges than any other technical field.

·  just worked out that way, I spent many years building systems then decided to stay after my last install, that was 15 years ago.

·  Opportunities??

·  Most of the new 'breed' do not want to get dirty, but manufacturing is agreat entry level position(s) to get excellent practical, worthwhile experience and there is no substitute for real world experience. One can always move to consulting after much practical experience but how can one consult with a good basis / understanding of the real world.

·  I toured the company I work for in High School and new I wanted to be in manufacturing.

·  Present the graduate with an actual experience in the field . Prepare a subject where everyone should take the class. I would suggest building an actual manufacturing miniature complex in the university where actual engineers would have to review problems and fix them with the workers in view.

·  My first job was in the Steel Industry which was difficult but I learned more my first year than the previous four years in college. What I learned was that there is a great deal of satisfaction in overcoming the day to day challenges invloved with keeping the equipment operating.

·  I pretty much love my job and I could not even imagine not being in this field.

·  "I have a home workbench and lab now.

·  For a while I worked at the repair/calibrate end of an electronics manufacturing line, and I also worked in product development. I've never worked on a shop floor per se. So I was one that shied away from it. From my experience there is almost ZERO data made available to the general public or students about what working in a modern factory is like. All they get is the horror stories from the developing world. I was out of electronics for a number of years working for my church, so I am far from representative as a career engineer."

·  Not my decision, the life put me in manufacturing. Bad image is not free, is a real problem, really difficult to overcome as day by day competition and financial results are the kings. This lead to slower salaries and worst conditions compared to other types of works.

·  I stumbled into manufacturing and left it once with the declaration that I would not return. But here I am now. I teach vocational classes at the local community college and regularly tell my students that the vocational track can be dynamic,rewarding and lucrative.

·  At the time tool & die/Mold Making was a solid, stable occupation. My father introduced it to me. I liked it from the start.  The factory environment has changed conciderably of late.  It's not the stereotypical dirty, sweat shop environment it used to be.

·  Even if you have no desire to work in a manufacturing environment, everything you design will hit the shop floor unless it is irrelevant.  Therefore  if you want to be relevant you must be able to stand in the shoes of the guy on the shop floor.

·  BECAUSE I LIKE IT

·  I went into manufacturing when I had designed a system (fast reacting power supplies) that needed to be made at once for a large project.  In general, for an actual career, I would go into it only if I would have consistent opportunity for reasonable professional development to meet manufacturing challenges as technology developes.

·  "When I was awarded my degree (1981), the economy was in pretty sorry shape and I took the first good position offered to me.  I've lived happily ever after in the manufacturing realm. I would tell a new grad that the pay is generally sub par and they should pursue a Marketing or Financial type career paths (or medical or law school!)."

·  Enjoyed working with people

·  Fits my skill set - design/implementation/trouble shooting.

· I am a hands on person who is equally at home with a wrench, so I was happier to be working in the trenches. Today's kids do not have the play experience because too many single parent homes or both parents work too much to care to show their kids hands on things.

·  I did not plan it, it just happened that I migrated there.  I would tell new grad that, as a society, "we gotta make stuff." We have tried it the other way and that other way is not sustainable. We cannot be a service only economy.  Manufacturing is elementary to a healthy economy, toward a healthy  society. As such, we need motivated, well trained, new engineers to come in and sustain continuous improvement.  When we couple good training with "good old fashioned Yankee ingenuity", no one in this world is better.

·  I didn't.  It was the only thing available as a job for engineering after a tour in the military as an engineer.  My daughter saw the hours I was putting in, dirt and oil on my clothes and decided to go finance instead of engineering.  She is doing much better than I am and has two masters degrees already paid for by her company.....My son in law (Her husband) also an engineer makes less than she does.  Factory is filled with grumpy people. Why would you want to even set foot in the environment. Manufacturing engineers are stuck right in the middle  between managers and union workers each trying to out grumpy each other.

·  It was always very hands on.  I make many of the decisions on my own as to the project.  I get the enjoyment of seeing projects running and producing that I know I had a big part in.

·  "Just happened, wasnt really looking for it to start.

·  I think it is great in a smaller start up business to be able to start from scratch and create your vision of how it should work.  This does not happen overnight though."

·  Would make them aware of it but really not that good an area.

·  Engineering was a perfect fit for my interests and education growing up.  Factories are where it all happens.  Theory and design can only go so far - eventually things have to be made in the factory.  It's very satisfying to see your designs and hard work come to life in the factory.

·  Still wear both hats.  The ideal is a mix of both.  Those who manufacture without getting into the field suffer from not knowing how the product actually works (or doesn't).

·  "the strategy of manufacturing differs from the service sector mostly because the tactics (operations) directly affects strategy. Keeping things up and running is closely integrated but, is way different than performing diligence for customer quality. assurance"

·  The industry was attractive to me.  Automotive is always changing and in attempts to reduce labor cost while keeping quality and volume high, automation is the kay.

·  I liked processes, dynamics, and analysis.  I work in engineering rather than manufacturing, but I have spent a lot of time in plants working on improvements and troubleshooting.  Factories are fast paced, highly interactive, demanding, and rewarding.

·  I like making things and finding out how they work. I always have. I did not have enough money to go to school so I went into the Army for training. I was also lucky that my high school was a good one and had courses in electronics. When I came out of the Army I had a good foundation for repair and maintenance. This has given me an advantage because I tend to look at manufacturing as a system not just as parts. I have a good working knowledge of electric, hydraulic, pneumatics, mechanics and how they work as a system.

·  I always enjoyed making things to meet a need that arose in my life.  I started running lathes when I was 6 years old.  At about 20 years old, I built a complete Top Alcohol dragster from the chassis up by myself, then the trailer to haul it in and the truck to pull it with.  They need to be a creative minded person with well-rounded math, science, listening and communication skills.  It's creative fun, like an art class without crayons.  There is no limit as to what you can create, given the proper resources.

·  Match the job with the personality and skills the student actually enjoys AND is actually good at.

·  "Chemical research in college bored me to distraction; however I enjoyed building the equipment.

·  Manufacturing produces solid, physical products; when I see something out in the real world that came from one of ""my"" machines it gives me a sense of accomplishment."

·  "electronics training by US Navy and NASA, after the Space Shuttle blew up I fell into Oilfield controls.

·  It was the work I could find in TEXAS ya know"

·  My discipline (mechatronics) is aimed at machine building, manufacturing so I knew where I'd be going

·  The problem with manufacturing is that they want to threat engineers like regular workers. For example at Anheser-Busch breweries, they have Engineers working as shift supervisors rotating shifts every six weeks. The Breweries became rotary doors where 80% of engineers will leave after a year so they will have something in their resume to move on to a more estable dayshift job (only a few stay), Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Miller, Coors, etc. are the same way. You need to know that Engineers are there to solve complex manufacturing problem and not to babysit Electricians or Mechanics, but rather to help them to solve complex manufacturing issues. Engineers need to be threated different that's why Interships before Engineers graduate should be important for the development of the engineer.

·  Took any job I could during a recession.

·  The reason I went into manufacturing is no longer there, a good pension and health benefits. My recommendation to go into manufacturing is that you actually produce something that can be used to better people's lives.

·  Does not aply to me.

·  I knew all along. Also college had co-op program that I did.

·  not in manufacturing

·  Job opportunity available at the time.

·  Money

·  The money was good and I liked the idea of acatually making things.

·  My father was an electrician, and I thought I would be an electrician as well.  After seeing the way he was looked down on by his employer (jerked around, poorly paid, and general treated as worthless and expendable), and seeing that this seemed to be common throughout various companies and industries, I decided to go into engineering.  I would tell a new grad that while some employees may be harder to replace than others, everyone in a company is important, from the garbage man to the CEO.  I would also tell the new grad to make sure to take time to relax: turn off the cell phone, email, etc. and just disconnect from the job.  If not, they will burn out quickly.

·  Enjoyed the education that I received that transitioned from class to a working environment at our campus.  We had a training ship, simulators, nuclear reactor - power plant and a machine shop.  Education focused on all aspects of engineering  - from design to manufacturing.

·  In office environment (I'm a software programmer)

·  I'm more of a hands on person so I tried to combine theory with the practical.  That is what I looked for when searching for a job.  I had the advantage of growing up in an environment that provided input and helped me make a decision.  Most young people today do not get broad exposure to career / vocation options. I would focus on high school to start the process of informing.

·  I have worked production all my life.  I didn't have a set plan, just went where the jobs were available.  The factory job environment is not like it once was.  Controls have been added to help control processes that once took a lot of manual work.  Proper controls have allowed us to work smarter.

·  American needs to start making things again period,

·  More of an accident than a decision. I would tell a recent grad that manufacturing environment provides a varied experience. If a person wants certainty from day to day - not the right fit. If a new challange every day is what they want - it may be a good fit.

·  The factory/job environment can be a very excititng place to work.  New challenges arise to keep you focused and interested.  In many corporaitons that experience is a crucial stepping stone to advancing.

·  I am in product engineering. We involve and respect the Manufacturing engineers (we didn't used to). This new attitude needs to be conveyed to them.

·  Being an engineer I just assumed I would be working for a company that manufactured products.  I did have an offer for a distribution company, but the fact that they didn't build a product kind of turned me off.  In my mind, an engineering company that manufactures something is more stable than one that doesn't.  I would tell a new engineering grad that there is still a place for manufacturing in the US.  We will find our niche products and industries where it makes more sense to build products domestically.  Additionally, as the cost of manufacturing overseas continues to increase it will start to push back manufacturing that originally left for cost of manufacturing reasons.

·  "We all enjoy hi-tech gadgets but we tend to forget that none of the things that surround us are “invented/created/perfected” by engineers. Maybe not the most glamorous job, but by far one of the most rewarding ones. One cannot think of a higher satisfaction than seeing your work finalized, functional and used by so many. Engineering will be around forever, the tools will always improve, will make processes easier, faster, more efficient, but the people that create them are the true heroes; the engineers."

·  Of course they do not want to be on the shop floor all the time. Why should they? There are technicians for it, they learn enough in 2 years to be technicians, run the machine, run the product line...but...when system wise something goes off, what then? Will the fifi trainees from fifi schools solve it? NEVER. I started in introducing PLCs in Europe back in 1974 in a first class US company, was on several production lines to convert them from relays to PLCs..trained hundreds of engineers and technicians in 4 languages...and did not regret it...but then, technicians had to take over ( and they did) to run their machines and lines on the shop floor.

·  No I did not from the beginning the industry work was booming at the time I decided to give it a try

·  Don't There is no stability, in the current environment.

·  I did turn down a few "factory" jobs but the dirty, unsafe plants are pretty safe and utilize some of the latest technology to manufacture products.

·  Keep an open mind and learn all you can on an ongoing basis

·  I went where the work was.  Once there, I saw how it was something different every day.

·  I sort of fell into it. My job path started on the construction end and worked it's way up from there. I would tell a new engineer that manufacturing/processing can be challenging and rewarding. It's also a good place to get some well-rounded experience.

·  Always liked this type of things

·  There is nothing more satisfying than to see one of your projects produce a high quality product that furthers the success of your company.  Manufacturing is fun, exciting and different every day.

·  I think they need to do some job shadow and spend a week with a ME, hard to express day to day it changes so much.

·  "I love engineering and challenges. I signed up for that.

·  Rockets or robots - it didn't matter."

·  I was a "hands on" kid, and found a "hands on" university.  I knew I wanted to be around stuff being made.  I have been in almost every industry in 23 years.  Since I started though, manufacturing in general has been escorted out of the U.S.  So I have considered it a declining industry.  I would tell a new engineering grad that manufacturing can be a rewarding career.  Expectations should include: Working in a dynamic mix of individuals and technology.  Frequent change in order to remain competitive.  Expect to put in lots of hours, but don't let your job dictate your life.  A manufacturer will take as much as you're willing to give.  So remember, family comes first.  Specialize in an industry that has longevity, but be willing to modify direction mid career.  Macroeconomics will drive the growth or decline of manufacturing in the future.  I think it will return to favor the U.S., but not until more developing coutries grow their middle class.  Our government won't be able to tariff our way back to manufacturing strength.

·  There is a perception that in factories robots have replaced people and there are no large numbers of jobs.

·  No. I always wanted R&D is a progressive field (renewable energies and such). Worked in the mills while schooling. Experience through those years kept me in the Industrial Controls field. Comfortable with it though. Nowadays this is called Mechatronics.

·  It pays well.

·  After my formal education, I went out and tried it and I did OK.

·  At the time - there were no opportunities in academics and industrial labs like Bell Labs, IBM Watson, Xerox PARC were beginning the process of spiraling closed.  So production was the only alternative and a more lucrative one then academia.  That has now turned around and many academics earn more than their private sector counterparts.  This is one reason why a university education has grown 4-5X faster than the economy and compensation in the private sector.

·  I worked my way up from the factory floor and then went back to school.

·  Manufacturing has to invest in the people they have by targeting people to send back to school part-time and promoting them up through the organization. To do this a company must have long range goals and put people first.

·  I encourage all new engineers to work in operations for at least a couple of years, even if they plan to eventually move into other areas. The experience is invaluable and will benefit them for the rest of their career.

·  If you know how to make machinery run, you can always find a job.

·  I think the best engineers are trained through a rotating program starting with a year or two in office, 5 years in factory or site.

·  I had been in the military and found that the best leaders "Earned their stripes".  I think engineering students are taught that they are above manufacturing.  Reality is manufacturing is a great place to learn and grow.

·  Manufacturing is where the money is made or lost.  BTW, my 2012 STEM graduate graduated with high honors and saw no employement opportunities in manufacturing.

·  I started out in the  manual printed circuit board design world (Brady tape, ha!)....as we migrated to CAD this required me to learn about the specific manufacturing equipment (CAM) that the CAD design side supported.  This led me to an appreciation more of the manufacturing side and that is where I am today only in a motor manufacturing environment.

·  I have always found great challenges in producing materials and products.  The problems are rarely well-defined and the challenges of operating safely, accurately and efficiently can be very great.

·  Very high pressure, dynamic.

·  I morphed into it from lab to plant

·  Depending on the company, it is a difficult time for the manufacturing industries, dependant on the location and type of industry, but if there was an opportunity in a growing industry, I would recommend it to a new grad.

·  Can be very rewarding, experience is very good.

·  It is a stable work enviornment with challenges on how to improve processes and equipment.

·  it's an opportunity to interact with technology and apply the school knowledge in real life.

·  took a few classes and it all seemed to make sense-----Tell hjim to learn how things work from someone who has been there a whil---stay open minded

·  I started with the intention of being a integrated-circuit designer - but my co-op experience was in controls and automation - it lead me to a number of different jobs in my career, from engineering to marketing to sales - the biggest thing I would say is that releasing new products to the market and to watch how it is accepted by consumers can be very cool

·  I enjoy working with a mix of troubleshooting, continuous improvement, and upgrade projects.  That allows me to work on design in the office and implementation in the factory.  Hands-on implementation is an important part of understanding the processes.

·  Simply describe personal experience and show through examples of other companies with excellent reputations having outstanding facilities.

·  I think that manufacturing is a great place to be however I think that most management tends to look at manufacturing as a necisary evel portion of there buisness.  and tend to treat the other portions with more respect

·  Just happened

·  This day in time if there is a job out there then be lucky you have one.  no matter what environment it is in.

·  manufacturing is a very important thing in the value chain.

·  I knew all along.  That the factories of today do not look anything like factories in movies, they are bright, high-tech, and a very exciting place to be.  You are actually working on something that really helps Economic Growth.

·  It was due to lifestyle/career change that I went that route.

·  Interested from beginning of eduction

·  I learned it from my Grandfather, He was the one who said God gave you a gift to work with your hands and think with your head.

·  View the market.  The market will always tell you what a job is worth.

·  I knew all along

·  I worked my way through college filling in for workers on the factory floor who were going on vacation.  I ran brakes, shears, presses and did some MIG and TIG welding.  I completely knew the value of a buck, understood manufacturing.  I happened to purse a medical career, but couldn't get into med school, so I migrated almost by accident into manufacturing.  I love it.

·  It can be very challenging, it is all about what you make of it. The more you know the more you realize how little you know

·  I knew aftre I tried something else. These are not the same factories our parents worked in. They are clean, fast paced and pose interesting challenges.

·  Manufacturing\Processing was the option available. I think I limited myself based on my co-op experience. Since I have moved in to consulting engineering allowing me to work in many different areas. Factory\Manufacturing is the key to economic revivial in this country. It is a good career choice and will be in heavier focus in the years to come.

·  Right for me because I prefer hands-on work and the energy of the manufacturing plant environment.  I would highlight the hands on nature of the work, and the satisfaction of seeing daily results.

·  engineering grad and it is what i love to do

·  Find something you like to do.

·  It is real world, but requires dedication. It may not appear to be as glamorous as design work, but more interesting in mid to large companies.

·  Manufacturing is very important to all industries

·  I went to work with my Dad from age 8.  It was in my DNA I guess.  This is a problem for sure.  More companies need to go into the schools to let kids know just how rewarding Mfg jobs can be.  I'm developing a website to do just this.  www.ManufacturingStories.com. Site launch is June 2012.  Give me a call or email I'd love to include you folks in the mix of GOOD NEWS!

·  Exciting advancement in Automation.

·  Took a course in Industrial Technology History & it seemed very interesting

·  I wanted to go into manufacturing do to the technicalogy and the ability to say you helped build something.  I would tell them that with out manufacturing we would not have any jobs in the USA.

·  I like doing something that is "real".  I'm thoroughly enjoying doing some that is making a difference and helping my company compete.  I would tell a new engineering grad that if you want to help the US compete in the world market and stay a leader, go make a difference in a manufacturing plant.

·  I chose manufacturing more to stay in my preferred geographical area.  I think manufacturing is going to have to adjust their pay scales for engineers to attract new engineers. Most manufacturing jobs require longer hours at times than most research jobs.

·  The factory enviroment is tough, not financially rewarding, but necessary to the survival of the US economy.  Its a hard sell!

·  I enjoyed making things run and didn't necessarily need to be involved with the very latest technology.

·  Factory jobs are the future.  It was that way 30 years ago and it is still the case.  Moving money will become a dead end.

·  pot luck, didn't want to do engineering for military or government

·  Experience...........No............Do not be afraid to get your hands Dirty. The best engineers I have known have came from the Shop Floor

·  I knew all along what I wanted. I would tell any one that is looking to work in a factory environment first.

·  it was just one of many aspects for the job.

·  "Was a good place to go when the power industry tanked in the 80's.

·  Challenging - quick pace - results of your work tangible"

·  Experience in building things as a kid and throughout High School.

·  Better challenges in Manufacturing

·  I like to make things. Manufacturing was a logical choice. I worked in manufacturing prior to entering the education industry.

·  just always seemed the place to be.

For a look at the other responses, visit "Survey Says, Educating and Training the Industrial Workforce, Part 2" 

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