Report Identifies Personal Experience as Top Influencer of Youth Career Decisions


Today, The Manufacturing Institute, in partnership with the Student Research Foundation and SkillsUSA, released a report identifying the characteristics of experiences that impact student career choices. The purpose of the survey was to inspire dialogue between parents, educators, counselors and students, with the goal of better aligning programs and services with students’ needs and preparing them for careers ahead.

The study found that 63 percent of students identified their own interests and experiences as having the greatest influence over their career decisions, with parents as the second-largest influence at 32 percent.

“This report confirms for us what drives the career choices of the next generation,” The Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee said. “To help build the future pipeline of workers, manufacturers need to give students and parents more opportunities to experience innovative, high-tech and exciting modern-day manufacturing.”

“Hearing the voices of students, to learn about their thinking on career paths, is vital to building a bridge to the future workforce,” said Michael Conn, SVP Research, Student Research Foundation. “Our research collaboration with the Manufacturing Institute and SkillsUSA takes an important step in that direction.”

The report also found that 35 percent of students enrolled in CTE have no contact with potential future employers. Knowing that students’ interests and experiences play a crucial role in choosing their career path, they must have frequent and varied exposure to manufacturing. Events such as Manufacturing Day are critical for allowing employers to engage with the local community, create relationships with educators, and showcase the broad range of opportunities available in the modern manufacturing world. With more than 2,800 events happening across the nation throughout the year, manufacturers are inspiring students to get excited about careers in the industry. Visit to find an event near you.

-About the MI-

The Manufacturing Institute is the social impact arm of the National Association of Manufacturers. We drive programs and research to promote modern manufacturing and jumpstart new approaches to growing manufacturing talent. For more information, please visit

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit

733 10th St. NW, Suite 700 • Washington, DC 20001 • (202) 637-3000