The Manufacturing is Cool Web site created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers is worth adding to your company's list of Web links. (So is TryEngineering.org, a site I found thanks to SME's site). I like the idea of getting young people interested in opportunities available at manufacturing companies, especially on the engineering side of the business. My trip to Antec and Plastics Encounter last week in Cincinnati really reinforced the idea that there are good careers available for bright young people in manufacturing -- especially ambitious students who are willing to travel and learn more than one language! That said, I think Managing Automation online editor Chris Chiappinelli had a good point about the use of the word "cool" in his blog entry on the topic: "The Cool Kids Never Say They're Cool."
The new "Manufacturing is Cool" website from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers seems like another tired play for the young generation's attention, courtesy of out-of-touch adults. I love the effort, mind you. The site is an effort to drum up interest in manufacturing careers, and manufacturing does seem to need a new and interested crop of youngsters to fill out its thinning ranks. My gripe is with the branding. Telling kids that manufacturing is cool seems misguided. You won't catch Nike saying, "Buy these new Jordans, they're cool." And Apple ads won't state that the new iPhone is cool. The presentation says it all.Despite the grumbling, SME deserves applause for its effort. Some plastics groups might want to mimic the idea, or at least try to piggyback off of this effort.