Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Provides a 'Reality Check' of Midwest Auto Industry; Notes How Region's Economy Has Changed

05.05.2011
A new report co-authored by researchers at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, provides a revealing look at the transformation of the auto industry in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio as it emerges from the Great Recession.

It portrays how the industry's restructuring activities -- such as applying new technologies and production efficiencies, reducing costs and modifying product lines -- already were underway and leading to an extended period of downsizing when the recession arrived.

"This report is a reality check, accepting that the regional economy is at a fundamentally different place and cannot return from where it came. However, as the auto sector works toward its revival, there are workforce issues to be addressed, particularly in the context of the growing evolution and demands of a green economy," says the executive summary of the report, "Driving Change: Greening the Automotive Workforce."

The report and an accompanying conference are the capstone of an 18-month U.S. Department of Labor study led by the state Labor Market Information Offices in Indiana (the Indiana Department of Workforce Development), Michigan and Ohio in collaboration with the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC), the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and Case Western University's Weatherhead School of Business.

The research results were unveiled today (May 4) at the conference, which was held at the Ford Conference and Event Center in Dearborn, Mich.

"A key finding of this research is that the automotive jobs growing in demand require more complex skills and knowledge, with stronger credentials, than in the past," said IBRC director Jerry Conover. "Our study illuminates pathways to lead today's workers to those jobs, as well as to in-demand jobs in other industries."

According to the report, automakers face a variety of challenges imposed by global competition, government mandates and consumer demands. Finding the best balance of materials and technologies to meet these sometimes-conflicting demands requires agility and new approaches to design and manufacturing.

To help meet these challenges, auto workers will increasingly need to emphasize integrative systems approaches, critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills, together with a commitment to lifelong learning at all levels of the workforce.

Conover noted that the size of the work force at auto industry employers in the three-state region was cut in half over the past decade. As a result, the report also highlighted that many displaced workers will need help to find suitable alternative jobs. It offers valuable guidance to those helping displaced workers prepare for new career opportunities.

The research offers several practical responses for the industry, including:

* The need for ongoing access to capital for the supplier network is critical to the stabilization of this sector.
* Emerging green and cross-functional systems approaches to design, manufacturing, equipment maintenance and building construction will demand corresponding changes in the training of workers from the design center to the shop floor.
* Strategic training for managers that emphasizes long-term planning, worker training benefits and the need to integrate complex investments could improve acceptance of the associated investment costs.
* Current differences among definitions of green jobs and inconsistent use of occupational coding systems frustrate and complicate research efforts aimed at identifying and quantifying these jobs and identifying training opportunities.

* Many of the workers displaced from the auto sector who will need to transition to alternate occupations are starting with limited education (high school or less). These workers will be especially challenged in finding acceptable replacements for their old jobs and will need support throughout that process.

"New opportunities are arising in other sectors of the green economy. Investment drives innovation and ultimately results in more jobs. While the automotive industry may never return to previous employment levels, there is a future for substantial automotive and green employment in the tri-state region" the report says.

"Preparing a skilled green workforce for automotive and related green industries should remain a priority in this region for years to come.

"The tri-state region appears able to attract and retain research and design, engineering and systems integration jobs going forward based on its extensive talent pools and knowledge base, but faces stiffer competition from Asian players for other niches such as electronics manufacturing where the region's infrastructure and knowledge are not as advanced," it cautioned.

More information about project is available online at www.drivingworkforcechange.org

George Vlahakis | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.indiana.edu

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Europe's microtechnology industry is attuned to growth
10.03.2017 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>