Developing manufacturing skill sets requires specific education in assembly production and an understanding of how to properly utilize technical innovations to optimize the fabrication process. Across the U.S., many businesses are seeing industry workers with low levels of manufacturing knowledge and experience who often don't understand that the industry is evolving from blue-color work into a profession that requires specific training. However, Mexico is seeing an increase in the number of youth enrolling in higher education and manufacturing programs to enhance their production skills and abilities. With more U.S. businesses choosing to offshore manufacturing to Mexico to take advantage of the country's skilled labor, Mexican workers may become one of the most experienced manufacturing labor forces in the world.
More Mexican Youth Receiving Higher Education
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), higher education graduation rates have been steadily increasing across Mexico for the past decade, resulting in the country having the highest average annual rate of growth for first-time higher education rates among all of the countries the OECD analyzes. The organization found approximately 49 percent of young Mexicans are set to graduate with a degree from an upper secondary education institution.
In fact, more Mexican youths have higher education qualifications compared to older workers. The OECD found 44 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds have the same level of training as 23 percent of 55 to 64 year-olds. This increase in the Mexican workforce's level of education bodes well for its manufacturing industry as product quality improves by employing workers who have specific fabrication and business training. According to OECD, Mexico's overall investment in education is higher than that of other developed countries, such as Australia and Switzerland. Mexico's concentration on formal training and higher education degrees promises the nation's youth will stay highly qualified into the future.
Not only are more Mexican youths entering higher education, they are gaining strong training as well. According to OECD, Mexico is set to retain growth in higher education enrollment by having strong student-teacher ratio levels as well as the number of teaching hours per year, meaning students are able to spend quality time with their teachers to receive a better education.
Overall, Mexico has the highest enrollment of students in public institutions compared to the rest of Latin America. According to OECD, Mexico has devoted a slightly higher than average GDP expenditure to educational institutions over the past decade starting in 2011.
Upper-level Training in Manufacturing
There is also a rise in the number of manufacturing education programs across Mexico, with many centered in industry clusters such as Guaymas and Empalme. These types of programs allow production employees to receive technical training as well as additional hands-on experience in manufacturing, which will strengthen the labor force for manufacturers in Mexico. Some of these programs allow students to gain real experience in maquiladoras, similar to internships. Many students in the programs even go on to receive their engineering degree and find work in U.S. facilities in the country.
According to Insider Higher Ed, blended learning initiatives, which mix formal training with hands-on experience, is increasingly becoming valued in the manufacturing industry. Employers and higher education institutions are improving their relationships to develop a hybrid approach that enhances students' fabrication skills and abilities, which are essential to their manufacturing careers.
Manufacturing Digital reported many U.S. employees still perceive the manufacturing industry as blue-collar profession instead of the high quality career path that it is. This is not the case in Mexico, where many young workers grew up around assembly and production industry clusters, and so understand how the industry has evolved to need employees with higher education. Offshoring to Mexico allows U.S. businesses to take advantage of this growing focus.
updated from 2013 post
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