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 Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>