Today, there are social media influencers for just about everything – from hip dining experiences to kid’s toys. Social media offers the opportunity for the most passionate people to turn their interests into a career.
Jake joined Onshape co-founder Jon Hirschtick for an episode of the Masters of Engineering podcast to explain how he became a manufacturing influencer, his mission, and why it’s important for more young people to join the industry.
Building a Younger Workforce
After Jake graduated from college and started working at an automation distributor, he attended a manufacturing conference. It was there when he realized he was not only one of the youngest people at the conference but in the entire industry.
About 25% of the workers in manufacturing are above 55 years old, making it one of the oldest workforces of any industry. The lack of young people is not because of a lack of space, but a lack of interest.
To most people, manufacturing sounds like a dark, dull, and dangerous field with only 6% of Generation Z having any interest in pursuing a career in manufacturing. However, Jake has seen it as an industry filled with innovation and new technology that needs more young people to continue growth.
Determined to fix manufacturing’s misrepresentation, Jake created his internet persona The Manufacturing Millennial. He started to post interesting topics about manufacturing on LinkedIn, such as artificial intelligence reimagining software or robots creating everyday products at the speed of light.
In addition to spreading awareness about the cool, high-tech elements of manufacturing, Jake also realized he could show how the industry affects the entire world.
“I want to advocate how we’re solving problems in the industry, and not talk so much about the product, but the problem,” Jake said.
Since the start of the pandemic, Jake has amassed around 45,000 followers on LinkedIn with tons of growth ahead.
Generating Interest in the Manufacturing Industry
Jake also hopes that companies will step up to create a more diverse workforce by engaging with more local institutions.
Sponsoring events at local community colleges, skill trade programs, universities, and high schools can get more students interested in manufacturing and show them how technology is growing the industry. Targeting students can also introduce a brand new demographic to more established companies, making the introduction mutually beneficial.
“We need to educate ourselves to understand what technology is out there, but we also need to educate our local education system on what skills they need to be teaching,” Jake said.
Recently, Jake asked his followers how companies can make entry-level jobs more accessible to college students with a meme saying, “So you’re telling me I have to get experience before I get experience?”
The post sparked 42 comments from various company executives discussing what they’re doing to fix this problem and the issues they personally experienced.
Jake is making a difference in the manufacturing community by uniting the industry, educating anyone that’s interested in learning more, and working with his followers to help find solutions for real-world problems.
More Masters of Engineering
To listen to the full conversation between Jon and Jake, subscribe to the Masters of Engineering podcast. The podcast is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and any of your favorite podcast-streaming services.