EXPLORATION OF THE TRAINING, EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES, AND TECHNICAL COMPETENCIES OF ENTRY-LEVEL MANUFACTURING ENGINEERS IN THE COMMERCIAL SPACE INDUSTRY

2020-04-30T19:20:48Z (GMT) by Tracy L Yother
The commercial space industry is facing a shortage of qualified workers due to the aging and retirements of the workforce and the inability to find sufficient candidates who can meet the security requirements. Additionally, technically qualified individuals are also looking to other industries instead of space. The needs of the industry, and for manufacturing engineers specifically, are not well understood. In order to better understand and satisfy the needs of industry and for manufacturing engineers, the purpose and objective of this study was to explore the training, educational experiences, and technical competencies of entry-level manufacturing engineers. All the participants in the study had worked as a manufacturing engineer in the commercial space industry. There were five expert level and three entry-level manufacturing engineers (n = 8). Expert-level manufacturing engineers had at least three years of experience and entry-level manufacturing engineers had less than three years of experience. This qualitative descriptive study involved interviewing the participants to explore their experiences. Six themes emerged from the findings and included: (a) mentoring used as a teaching tool, (b) you’re going to be doing pretty good, (c) worst case is millions of lives, (d) understand, be familiar, or proficient, (e) the interpreter or the bridge between the design engineer and the shop floor, and (f) the storyteller or make your data tell a story.