Journal of STEM Teacher Education


Due to the large number of individuals retiring over the next ten years a critical shortage of people available to work within the manufacturing industry is looming (Dychtwald, Erickson, & Morison, 2006). This shortage is exacerbated by the lack of a properly educated workforce that meets the demands of the 21st century manufacturer (Judy & D’Amico, 1997). Combine these two issues and the result is a steady reduction in qualified candidates for the millions of jobs available in the manufacturing industry. The purpose of this research was to identify if a knowledge gap exists between the manufacturing industry and the educational institutions charged with education of the production workforce. Although the majority of manufacturers and educators indicated there was a gap between the educational institutions and the manufacturer’s needs, this research did not uncover a significant gap between the educational institutions and the manufacturers specific to their understanding of the attributes, skills and adult basic education level of a highly skilled production employee.