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Worker Skills Gap Widens as Manufacturing Grows Smarter

As manufacturing gets smarter with Industry 4.0 and the ever-expanding Industrial Internet of Things, the workforce skills needed to deploy new technology are falling behind.

Baby Boomers are retiring and taking their decades’ worth of experience out the door, while the newly graduated engineers are not prepared for the brave new world of smart plants.

The looming problem is that there is simply not enough skilled talent to run advanced plant technology. “We’ve been lucky that we have large research organizations with a focus on manufacturing technology, but it’s not scalable,” said Julian Keith Loren, director of external engagement and solutions at GE Software. “You can draw on it for the first few plants, but it doesn’t scale for 500 factories. It’s a real challenge. How do we get the right people and scale?”

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