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U.S. manufacturing job openings at 2007 levels – CNN Money

In October, there were 322,000 job openings in manufacturing — about the same level as in 2007. It has tripled since hitting a low of 99,000 during the recession in 2009.

The problem with the increase in job openings is the quality and type of manufacturing jobs.

“The low skill, low wage jobs are actually moving away and being replaced by the high-skill, high-wage jobs,” says Ahu Yildirmaz, head of the ADP Research Institute.

In other words, working class Americans with low skills are finding fewer job opportunities while high-skill jobs go unfilled.

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So the manufacturing tide is on the rise, but its not exactly lifting all the boats. However, according to Mark Muro and Peter Hirshberg at the Brookings Institute, the public and private sectors are both looking to harness the momentum of local and regional maker movements in an effort to bridge the gap.

Most notably, the hands-on, do-it-yourself ethos of making is increasingly being recognized as invaluable for conveying modern technical know-how while encouraging creativity. In that fashion, making offers exciting new approaches to learning all along the continuum—from K-12 classrooms and higher-ed, to workforce preparation.

The notion that bridging this divide is not so insurmountable a task is echoed by YearUp.org (another winner of MIT IDE’s Inclusive Innovation Competition), which seeks to increase this type of access to urban populations as well.

Taken together, the approachability and determination of the maker community paints a much brighter picture of what the future of US manufacturing can be, and how we might get there in one piece.