Perspectives on how academia is keeping pace with the changing needs of manufacturing professionals


The present paper surveys the alignment of curriculum with the educational needs of manufacturing professionals and organizations. An analysis is presented of data from multiple surveys, regarding the skills needed by manufacturing professionals to meet the rapidly changing and increasingly competitive requirements of the manufacturing industry. One survey was separately administered to manufacturing professionals and manufacturing educators. It was found that there were several skill topics which both educators and professionals were in agreement regarding their importance in sustaining the productivity of manufacturing professionals. Among these agreed-upon skills are Lean Processes, Six Sigma, and CAD/CAM. As a follow-up to the above skill topics survey, a catalog survey of available university courses was performed to find courses that would enhance the agreed-upon needed skills for manufacturing professionals. The data from the catalog survey indicated gaps in course offerings in those agreed-upon skill topics. Furthermore, a phone survey of university department heads of The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) accredited schools of technology supported the presence of the gap between skills needed and course offerings. A gap analysis was performed using the catalog and phone surveys. Recommendations are given to enhance inclusion and visibility of these agreed-upon skills in engineering and technology curricula.


Technology and Construction Management

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Journal of Industrial Technology