A new nationwide poll* found that most Americans are not “tinkerers,” and manufacturing leaders say the “hands-off” policy around the house is a leading cause of disinterest among American youth to fill much-needed, future industrial skilled labor jobs.
In a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults,
nearly six in 10 said they never have made or built a toy. More than a quarter
– 27 percent – have not made or built even one item from a list of eight common
projects ranging from a dollhouse or piece of furniture to a fence or flower
In addition, 60 percent avoid
handling major household repairs, opting to hire a handyman, enlist their
spouse, ask a relative or contact a property manager. And, 57 percent state
they have average or below average skills at fixing things around the house.
“Many Americans simply do not
work with their hands anymore, whether it’s to tackle a hobby for pleasure or
to handle a necessary household repair,” saidGerald Shankel,
president ofNuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs
(NBT), The Foundation of theFabricators &
Manufacturers Association, which sponsored the poll.
“This means young people
essentially have no role models when it comes to fixing things themselves or
taking pride in building something useful,” Shankel added. “It’s no wonder why
so many teens today dismiss the idea of considering a career in manufacturing
or one of the manual arts such as electrical, plumbing, carpentry or welding.”
In fact, a separate NBTnational poll of 500 teensrevealed nearly three quarters – 73
percent – have no or little interest, or are ambivalent, about joining the
ranks of blue collar workers as an adult.
“It’s absolutely critical for
this mindset to change because when America recovers from our economic
downtown, there will be a dire need for skilled manpower in the trades,” said
actor and producerJohn Ratzenberger, an NBT founder who leads the group’s
efforts to promote manufacturing as a viable career choice.
It does appear parental support
for this cause exists in America, according to the NBT poll. More than half of
the adults surveyed who have children would recommend their sons and daughters
pursue a manufacturing career or another kind of technical work such as
welding, plumbing, construction, electrical or equipment repair.
NBT addresses this goal by
offering grants to not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions
that introduce young people to careers in the trades through manufacturing
summer camps for youth. It also issues scholarships to students at colleges and
trade schools pursuing studies that lead to careers in manufacturing.
For more information on NBT, visitwww.NutsAndBoltsFoundation.org.
*The NBT poll results are based
on the responses of 1,000 adults in the United States who
participated in a telephone survey in September 2009.
& Manufacturers Association