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As president of the International Fluid Power Society this year, I have had the pleasure of attending a large number of trade shows and national meetings, completed many local customer calls, and heard the same dialogue being repeated: “We need skilled people.” I don’t care if it’s at the salesman level, engineering disciplines, trades, whatever. It’s the same mantra.
Why is that? Well, I hear many reasons for this, but one does seem to be in the majority. Colleges and universities are not producing qualified candidates with exposure to fluid power. I can attest to the fact that I have talked to many good, young engineers just leaving school and they admit there are little or no fluid power classes, much less fully focused degree programs in this area.
Wow! Nature seems to have run amuck here. We are taught early and often that nature always tries to fill a vacuum. Well, if that and the laws of supply and demand are truly correct, we should be flooded with young people running to our companies and fighting to get into our profession. Are the money and benefits not right? Is the work too hard and dirty? I think not. Check out the May/June issue of Fluid Power Journal and read the results of our recent salary survey. We take pretty good care of our people, from what I’ve read there. (By the way, isn’t the Journal looking great these days? Super congrats to the staff at IDP!)
The problem, I believe, is exposure.
These young people live in a world where fluid power is everywhere. The applications for it are growing—not shrinking—but nobody seems to be pointing that out. We don’t personally have to tell the world of this fact. All we have to do, individually, is talk it up to our own sphere of influence.
This is my call to action for us all. Make an appointment with your local high school or middle school guidance office. Volunteer to give a talk at a career day function or similar. Let them know our chosen field of work is vibrant and strong, and that we need new recruits.
The Society is well on its way of completing our Boy Scout Merit Badge project and feel this will be an awesome way to educate young folks about fluid power.
Check out the May/June issue of the Journal and read the article about Alfred State College. These students are getting certified and securing jobs. Has a nice ring to it in today’s job market, doesn’t it?
Again, I challenge you, get in the game. We need you! Who is a better advocate for this great career area? Those of us already in it! Spread the word…Fluid Power Rocks!
By Mark Perry, CFPHS, Fitzsimmons Hydraulics, 2013 IFPS President and Chairperson
One thought on “A Call To Action”
Great article..and I agree. Fluid power, in general, has many advantages in a great deal of motion control applications, but the exposure is not there. And when young engineers are exposed, fluid power actuators are just not as “cool” as electric drives despite the relatively high cost and low torque density of the electric drives. As side note, in my experience, a certain mind-set exists that fluid power actuators must be low cost items or “no sale”, but it’s OK for electric drives to be high cost. It’s part of the overall slight against the industry. I just don’t get it.