When Deloitte published its Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index last year, the No. 1 driver of competitiveness was talent-driven innovation, according to top executives. The operative word here is "talent" - the quantity and quality of skilled workers, scientists, researchers and engineers available to manufacturers in a given country.
There was a time when America seemed to have a monopoly on talent. No more - at least not in the critical career paths necessary to maintain a competitive edge in the global marketplace of ideas. Countries such as Germany, China and India have done far more in recent years to encourage innovation (and in turn build vibrant manufacturing bases) in their own backyards.
This turn of events didn't happen overnight. To compete in a global marketplace, manufacturers have steadily evolved their processes for the better part of two decades. Employment on the shop floor of modern American manufacturers generally requires advanced skill sets, including knowledge of science, technology and math.
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