Manufacturing Shouldn’t Be A Dirty Word For Today’s STEM Talent

TechCrunch

Editor’s note: Vicki Holt is president and CEO of Proto Labs.

When most people hear the wordmanufacturing,” a few images tend to come to mind: low skill, wrench-turning, physically draining work; dirty, grease-stained workplaces; a male-dominated workforce. For whatever reason, these stereotypes persist, and they are antiquated and misleading.

Thanks to massive advancements in automation technology and analytics software, the American manufacturing industry of today is a far cry from the assembly lines and manual labor of the past. Manufacturing in the 21st century is a high-tech fusion of software and mechanical engineering, automated processes and complex production equipment, 3D CAD models and on-demand parts. The fortunate result of this modern-day industrial revolution is an expanding demand for highly skilled STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related positions.

I’ve watched our industry mature and transform greatly since I got my start in manufacturing in the…

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