Manufacturing leaders repeatedly identify the skills gap as the most urgent problem facing U.S. manufacturing today. According to Deloitte, by 2025 about two million manufacturing jobs will be unfilled because employers will not be able to find enough qualified workers with the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills needed for operating increasingly sophisticated, high-tech equipment.

“The skills gap is immediate,” says Sarah Boisvert, author of The New Collar Workforce. “One executive told me that engineers are now a dime a dozen in many specialties, but finding a good digital machinist is next to impossible.”

STEM jobs today require some level of post-secondary education — typically two- or four-year degrees or advanced degrees (or, in some cases, apprenticeships). Forward-thinking companies that depend on STEM employees locate in geographic areas that can provide an abundant supply of well-educated STEM workers — and Orlando is one of the top locations in the nation when it comes to that resource.