Here is an interesting thought from Derek Singleton on How Manufacturing Can Attract Young Talent Again:
Gamification of manufacturing - Gamification is a hot topic in many aspects of business at the moment - one driven by the idea that adding gaming elements to non-gaming activities encourages action and participation. It's a movement that seeks to capitalize on our youth's obsession with video games as well as our competitive nature. According to Diana Miller and Simon Jacobson's recent Gartner First Thing Monday Morning newsletter, Invensys has been using 3D gaming technology to teach new hires how to operate oil refinery equipment for the past few years. In the same vein, Siemens recently released Plantville, a program designed to teach manufacturing processes and technologies to young people and new hires. I haven't played it yet but it's apparently similar to Farmville - without the productivity loss.
Singleton outlines a number of other possible activities, but the gamification idea is the one that really caught my attention. As the use of "serious gaming" begins to take hold in STEM teaching, there might be an opportunity for manufacturing to tag along. Although I don't know if running a factory will have the same appeal as building a world (ala SimCity).