Level of Automation: Manufacturing in Nevada
On November 19, 2019, Reno hosted the first Nevada Manufacturing and Tech Forum heralded by the Nevada Industry Excellence (NVIE). Over 100 participants attended the event discussing disruptions and innovations in "automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, IoT, blockchain and cybersecurity." Regarding job loss to automation, NVIE Director Mark Anderson was quoted, "there might be the loss of jobs due to advancements in robotics and automation, (but for) every job lost, it is projected that another 1.7 new, higher-paying jobs requiring higher level skills will be created." During the conference, the following five key concepts were highlighted specific to addressing the manufacturing industry in Nevada: "1) Meet current and future industry needs in areas such as workforce development and operational effectiveness; 2) Network, share and collaborate, 3) Gather data that can be used to inform policymakers, 4) Develop industry-led training and education; and 5) Build a strong industry community and voice." Examples of these key concepts in action within Nevada are outlined below.
Workforce Development and Operational Effectiveness
There are several "regional forums of senior leaders in manufacturing throughout the state who are working toward enhancing the workforce pipeline for the industry." Among these are:
- Learning and Earning Advanced Career Pathways — LEAP
- Dream it Do it
- National Career Readiness Certificate — NCRC
- JOIN, Inc.
Networking and Collaboration
- Increasing automation in cybersecurity can be key for a small manufacturer. "Small Manufacturers are big targets of cyber attacks. Cyber criminals are seeking your information including employee and customer records, banking and financial data, and access to larger networks."
- The NVIE is a NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) member who can help connect Nevada manufacturers with key resources to assist.
- A Robotics Business Review report indicates that Nevada is among the most at-risk states for "potential losses of U.S. jobs from automation."
- Given that Nevada is, most recently, a Blue (Democratic) state, these potential job losses become political fodder.
- Voters tend to "vote Republican because of job-creation promises that might be difficult to keep in the face of technology."
Training and Education
Readying the state's workforce has facilitated the implementation of the 2018 Automation Technology Standards. This document was authored by the Nevada Department of Education in order to improve education standards in manufacturing. In part, these performance standards include:
- Automation could mean the loss of jobs in Nevada, however industries working together can help to bridge the gap in employment.
- "The construction industry has certainly become more high-tech and will continue to do so—jobs that were considered mostly manual labor even a decade ago are looking a lot more like engineering today—yet construction is still considered to be one of the industries least at risk for automation."