Reshoring Initiative needs creative thinkers to transform advanced manufacturing and the future of work

The COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns and related global recession of 2020 have created a highly uncertain outlook for the labor market. This phenomenon has accelerated both the arrival of the future of work and the reshoring of well-paying manufacturing jobs back to the United States.

A world of new technology is fundamentally changing how people work. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, demonstrates how the required skills, abilities and tasks, called competencies, are shifting because of automation and labor force transformation initiatives. Their findings indicate:

  • Processing, manual, and transaction-type competencies such as coordination and time management, management of costs and finances, material resources and reading, writing, math and active listening are declining.
  • Creative, problem-solving and social competencies such as analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies and creativity and initiative are trending up.
  • To cope with this fast-changing world, businesses need more creative and out of the box thinkers to manage digital age disruptions. The country will require more people like Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell. All were innovative thinkers and businessmen who were or are dyslexics.

    Human Resource (HR) departments must learn how to adapt the hiring and on-boarding process to take full advantage of creative thinkers and dyslexic candidates, by not rejecting them because they do not fit the standard new applicant model. By using those outdated standards, they have been rejecting bright minds who are part of the next generation of inventors, designers and makers.

    See how a young person with Dyslexia attempts college acceptance by requesting that they give him an opportunity to prove himself.

    “I am dyslexic. I used to think it was a liability; that someone had to “take a chance on me” to give me a job or “let” me into school. I encourage you to think about how you measure ability. If you are using a process that relies solely on reading and writing effectively you are eliminating people who would be your best problem solvers. If you want new, different, better ideas you need someone who thinks differently. And for that you need someone with a brain that is wired differently”.

    Although each person with dyslexia will have unique strengths and weaknesses, the learning difficulties are best known for causing challenges with reading, writing and spelling. Once thought of as being an impediment to a successful career in business, countless high-profile CEOs and entrepreneurs are helping dispel the misconception that dyslexia is a negative condition.

    Dyslexia Handicap or Advantage?

    Dyslexia is far more common among entrepreneurs than the general public. A study by Julie Logan of the Cass Business School in London showed that 35 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs—more than twice the national average—identified themselves as dyslexic. In a survey reported by CEO Magazine, 69,000 self-made millionaires and 40% of entrepreneurs were found to show signs of dyslexia.

    Dyslexia affects about 15 percent of Americans. But this apparent weakness can also be a covert strength, especially in business. Shark Tank stars Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary all have dyslexia, and say it has helped them be better entrepreneurs.

    So, what is dyslexia? Dyslexia is a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. Focusing on the changing demand for competencies expected to emerge in the future, shows how a typical dyslexic capability could support the required shift in effort in the workplace. New collar jobs will be created that match closely to the strengths of dyslexic thinking and could provide an opportunity for organizations to bridge the skills gap of the future.

    However, the traditional approach to dyslexia in the workplace is typically directed at the remediation of dyslexic challenges. An alternative approach based on skills could allow for organizations to focus on both the remediation of learning difficulties and harnessing of strengths, better aligning a deeper understanding of dyslexic skills with organizational values.

    Leading the Way Forward Through Diversity and Inclusion

    Today Diversity and Inclusion (DI) have become more than just HR checklist items; they have grown into a cultural phenomenon that, when executed correctly, has a direct effect on the bottom line. These days, it is more crucial than ever to ensure that the workplace is embracing these best practices to include bringing in others who think differently. It is a key part of team building. Educators and business leaders must form public-private partnerships and join with organizations like the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), the Reshoring Initiative , Learning First Alliance and other learning organizations to engage in transforming the way we think about preparing everyone for jobs in the future. These changes are needed for advanced manufacturing and building our workforce to sustain and bring more jobs back home to lead a post-pandemic economic recovery.

    AME’s Emerging Leaders program focuses on leadership development, enabling lean practitioners to participate in problem-solving work groups: networking with peers, and serving in a leadership capacity. It also puts participants on the fast track to AME volunteerism. The program seeks diversity and inclusiveness of our future leaders.

    To help students learn more about preparing for careers in the 4.0 Industrial and Digital Revolution, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) offers a free student membership. Together we can make Made In America and the “American Dream” a reality for everyone!

    Douglas Carlberg President CEO, M2 Global Technology Ltd. and Glenn Marshall, Newport News Shipbuilding Career Pathways (retired), are both on the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Management Team initiative for leading a “Manufacturing Renaissance” and a member of the Reshoring Initiative and Job Creators Network. For more information contact and, both are dyslexics.


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