Apple CEO Says U.S. Lacks Manufacturing Skills

Apple CEO Tim Cook says in a recent interview that Apple plans to build one of its Mac product lines in the United States, rather than in China, in 2013. This is great news for the lucky manufacturer(s) Apple will contract with to do this work. Cook adds that he hopes this move will encourage other companies to bring back more manufacturing jobs to this country.

Skills at Any Cost

Apple is going to bring manufacturing jobs to the U.S. in 2013

The most interesting part of the interview is when Cook notes that the higher cost of labor in the U.S. isn’t the biggest factor that has kept his company from manufacturing more products in its home country. “It’s not so much about price; it’s about the skills,” he says in the interview.

It’s ironic that there is a serious shortage of workers in the manufacturing industry with the necessary skills to handle modern manufacturing processes. The industry has become so technologically advanced in recent years that educators have failed to keep up and give college students the essential skills they need to thrive.

Modern Manufacturing Requires Smarter Manufacturers

Uncertain economic conditions and international competition have forced manufacturers to innovate and find other ways to cut costs in recent years. This has led to increased efficiency, a reduction in the number of workers required to produce the same number of goods, and more skills demanded from the workers who remain.

The manufacturing industry is much more technologically advanced than it was a generation ago. The old stereotype of blue-collar jobs is no longer true. Hopefully workers will be able to break out of the mold, as well, and rise to the challenge of filling these new high-skilled jobs.

It turns out that individuals have a big say in whether or not the U.S. continues to be a manufacturing nation. That’s an encouraging thought as we enter a new year.


About Robert Lockard

Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks and small business. Fishbowl Inventory is the #1-requested inventory management software for QuickBooks users. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies. His favorite movies include Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Fiddler on the Roof, Back to the Future and Lawrence of Arabia.
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2 Responses to Apple CEO Says U.S. Lacks Manufacturing Skills

  1. Roses says:

    The CEO of Apple claims outsourcing isn’t about money. That our schools no longer train our students with manufacturing skills. Many years ago I worked in manufacturing (assembling sissors) and I didn’t learn those skills in school; I was trained on the job. Schools never taught these skills; it was always on the job training. Apple sends their manufacturing to China where hundreds possibly thousands of employees live, breath and work in the same building. They receive minimal pay for hours and hours of work and there is no regard for them except that no matter what, they need to meet production needs so that Apple can sell their products. Apple needs to train the people here in the U.S. to keep our American people working.

    • Thank you for your insightful comment. It’s sad to me that the education system is failing its students. Instead of teaching them valuable skills that they can use in complex manufacturing jobs, they are not preparing workers with everything they need to succeed.

      I don’t think companies like Apple should bear the full responsibility to teach people after they’re hired. I think it’s a much better idea for companies to partner with colleges to provide students with internships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities to get hands-on experience while they’re still in school. This will help companies discover talented individuals and it will help colleges update their curriculum to match real-world needs.

      That’s my two cents on this topic. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

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