Moodlerooms’ E-Learn Magazine brings the training element, with particular emphasis in online and distance education, to the debate about manufacturing jobs in the car industry.
Long enduring macroeconomic factors determine the real wages of each country. To say it is difficult for a president to affect them significantly is an understatement. But inside this issue, the subject of labor productivity is a more approachable matter. Organized policies can make a noticeable impact in a macroeconomic short-term. Such were the cases of Japan and Korea, the US since the 1980s, and some developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, just to name a few examples. To the surprise of few, there is a correlation between education policies (with a corresponding spending budgets) and labor productivity.
So theoretically, it would be easier for Mexican workers and manufacturing plants to catch up with American productivity, than for the US to ensure globally competitive manufacturing wages. Naturally, there are other factors at play.
Today, Mexico is the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the world, with plans for new plants in march up until 2020. Over the years, the jobs have specialized. Over 70% of personnel is required certified skills in fields like metallurgy and electronics. AMIA (Spanish for the Mexican Automobile Industry Association) has partnerships with Mexico’s technical and higher education sectors. This makes for up-to-date syllabi, high enrollment rates, and affordable training for students and employers. Facing a demand of over 120,000 trained technicians graduated per year, the Mexican automobile manufacturing is actively pursuing e-learning, with the support of the Nation’s Secretariat of Economy.
To be fair, the US can push its productivity further, which in some places is happening. Just not with human workers.
Read Moodlerooms’ E-Learn Magazine interview with AMIA’s President Eduardo Javier Solís (available in Spanish and English).