NORWOOD, Ohio (AP) — Herbie Mays is 3M proud, and it shows — in the 3M shirt he wears; in the 3M ring he earned after three decades at the company's plant in suburban Cincinnati; in the way he shows off a card from a 3M supervisor, praising Mays as "a GREAT employee."Bent on cutting costs and refocusing its portfolio, the company decided to close the plant that made bandages, knee braces and other health care supplies and move work to its plant in Mexico.Barely 10 miles from his ranch-style brick home in this blue-collar city, GE Aviation has been expanding — and hiring.In the state-of-the-art laboratory in a World War II-era building the size of 27 football fields, workers use breakthrough technology to build jet engines that run on less fuel at higher temperatures.Bright flashes flare out as GE workers run tests with a robotic arm that can withstand 2,000 degrees (1,090 Celsius)."The United States trails virtually all its industrial competitors in public and private spending on training," said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance of American Manufacturing, adding that corporate spending on training has declined over the past two decades.[...] though industry experts advocate more funding for retraining, the track record for such programs has been mixed.Returning to school for up to two years can mean accepting much-reduced income during that time, sometimes an impossible step for older workers with families or nearing retirement.After years of job losses, filling 2 million new American manufacturing jobs in the next decade — the number forecast in a report by Deloitte Consulting and the American Manufacturing Institute — might seem easy.Siemens, which makes turbines, medical equipment and HVAC systems, employs 7,500 software developers — nearly 15 percent of its U.S. workforce.Last year, software developer was the second-most-common job advertised by manufacturing companies, behind only sales, according to data provided by Burning Glass Technologies, a company that analyzes labor market data.Vicki Holt is CEO of Proto Labs, which employs roughly 1,000 workers, including 120 software developers, to make components for the auto, aerospace and medical device industries.Choset is chief technology officer for the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute, a new public-private partnership to help U.S. companies adopt robot technologies, create and retain jobs in the sector, and help American workers compete with low-wage workers overseas.Jesper Haugaard, the vice president of Novozymes' European unit, said automation has allowed the company to keep production — and jobs — close to the market, rather than outsourcing to China, where labor costs might be cheaper but transport and duties would outweigh the benefits.There were fears of job loss when automation came, but today, he's an operator seated behind a row of computers, with "a better day at work and much more interesting job."Once he has completed his final year in Stihl's four-year apprenticeship program, Scherman will read diagnostic software on computer screens attached to each robot to repair and upgrade them.Two robot arms in one corner of the plant tie cords to the black pull handles used to start the company's outdoor power tools, a mundane job formerly done by people.The key is getting bright students into the plant, where they see that the grimy, dusty factories they learned about in books and movies are giving way to clean operations using futuristic technology.Lou Morales, who trains young apprentices at the Festo Corp. plant in suburban Cincinnati, understands the negative images associated with manufacturing that cause many young people — often steered by their parents — to shun the sector as a career.[...] he assures young people that their "future is endless" in manufacturing because new kinds of jobs are being created and the skills they are learning are in high demand.Festo Didactic, the education arm of Germany-based Festo, last year launched two-year mechatronics apprenticeship programs in Ohio with Sinclair Community College, and is already expanding its U.S. apprenticeship offerings.The plant remains mostly quiet as workers monitor a sophisticated robotic distribution system that self-adjusts its work flow to prevent backups.