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FIRST Robotics Will Hold a Regional Competition at Rockland Community College

 

Imagine a competition where of teams excited, technology-driven high school students compete head to head with robots they have designed, built and programmed themselves. Imagine hundreds of such teams competing in the Hudson Valley over a single weekend for the chance to advance to compete in front of 70,000 people in April at the FIRST Championship in Houston and again in May in Detroit. You don’t have to imagine it – it is real and will happen March 19 -20, 2020 at the Rockland Community College Athletic Center and you can be a part of it. Click here for event information.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 and is the world’s leading youth serving nonprofit advancing science, technology, engineering, and math. This program inspires students in grades K -12 worldwide while teaching leadership by engaging them in hands-on robotics challenges. FIRST LEGO League Jr. is for grade K-4, FIRST LEGO League is Grades 4- 8, and FIRST Tech Challenge covers grades 7 -12, while the FIRST Robotics Competition is grade 9 -12.

The program is supported by corporations, educational and professional institutions and individuals who provide mentorship time and talent, equipment, and funding. Participation in FIRST is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields. They develop self-confidence in STEM and real-world skills that can lead to careers in STEM related fields and more. High school participants are also eligible to apply for more than $80 million in scholarships to participating colleges and universities.

Working with professional Mentors participants design and build a robot, and compete in high-intensity events that reward the effectiveness of each robot, the power of team strategy and collaboration, and the determination of students. The competition teams create powerful mentoring relationships between the students and professional mentors, many of which are engineers and other professionals. The event starts with a Kickoff event that unveils a new, exciting, and challenging game. From the Kickoff, teams have limited time to build and program a robot to compete in the game using a kit of parts provided by FIRST and a standard set of rules. This year’s theme focuses on renewable sources of energy and is titled INFINITE RECHARGE.

Perhaps the program has achieved such amazing results because FIRST is known for Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. If you haven’t heard these terms before – “Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.” And at FIRST, Coopertition is “displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.” Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.

Last year nearly 100,000 high school students on 3,940 FIRST Robotics Competition teams took part in 100 district events, 11 District Championships, and 62 Regional Events (in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Israel, Mexico, and Turkey), and the FIRST Championship. Teams are comprised of professional mentors and 10 or more student members in grades 9-12. In addition, each FIRST team has one or more sponsors. Those sponsors include companies, universities, or professional organizations that donate their time, talent, funds, equipment, and much more to the team effort.

FIRST is a volunteer driven organization with more than 255,000 volunteer roles filled in the 2017-18 season. There are several FIRST programs in the Hudson Valley and opportunities for anyone reading this to become a volunteer. Many of the technical roles may require some experience and training but there are opportunities for safety advisors, field set-up, field re-set and similar tasks that can be a good fit for a first-time technical volunteer. Interested volunteers can visit the FIRST Inspires website HERE for more information about how to become a mentor, coach, or event volunteer.

Your company can also support the Regional Competition by participating in the College and Career Fair planned for the first day of the competition, March 19, 2020.  Your participation will highlight the many career options open to these highly motivated students in manufacturing.

For more information visit the FIRST Inspire website HERE.

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Best Practices for Creating a Job Description that Stands Out

 

With low unemployment rates in the United States, employers need to find innovative ways to win over candidates. This starts with job descriptions as they are often the first thing candidates will come across when interacting with your organization. Just how employers look for a candidate who sticks out from others, applicants look for the same when researching companies. Luckily, with some best practices; job descriptions can help you target the perfect candidate.

Don’t Underestimate the Job Title
Job titles are pretty self-explanatory and often times, not much thought is put into them. However, if numerous companies in a given area use the same generic title; it will do little to make your organization stand out. Instead, take a moment to think of a way for your job title to differentiate from others. For example, changing Machinist to CNC Operator I. Small changes like these, will catch the eye of a candidate looking in that field. In addition, key words like CNC Operator will help career platforms such as Indeed to put your posting closer to the top of the open jobs list.

Relate the Job Description to your Company Culture
Job descriptions give a sneak peak to candidates about what they can expect from your company. There should be emphasis placed to make sure there is no disconnect between the company mission statement and what the role entails. For example, if your mission statement highlights taking challenges head-on; consider writing a job description that describes projects employees work on for company/personal growth. Connecting your mission statement with a job posting will tell the candidate that your serious about achieving your goals.

Don’t Overload the Requirements Section
In an effort to deter unqualified candidates from applying, many hiring managers will create a laundry list of qualifications needed for the position. Unfortunately, this can backfire by deterring candidates who have the drive/ambition but lack extensive work experience like college graduates. Instead, try creating a separate list for minimum and preferred qualifications. This will help hiring managers go through an applicant pool that has the necessary skills but also is not too restrictive.

Short and Simple
In the age of smartphones and social media, many candidates are ditching a traditional desktop and instead using their phones to apply for jobs. If you ever viewed a poorly designed webpage on a mobile browser; you’ll notice all the text crammed into a small space making it confusing to read. Avoid the same result by creating short paragraphs and utilizing bullet points to get the message across.

Research the Competition
Having difficulty creating an interesting job description? Google can quickly become your greatest asset; simply search for the same job title and compare other companies job postings with yours. This is a great way to determine if your post stands out from the rest and to learn what benefits/compensation are other organizations offering. Salary and perks like vacation time/health insurance are key things that today’s candidates are looking for.

While creating job descriptions can be tedious, spending the extra time to ensure your posting is unique can help you reduce the amount of time the position is up for and attract qualified candidates. Best practices like these, demonstrate how today’s workforce is evolving and employers need to align their business models to benefit from that.

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What Do Americans Think about Manufacturing—and Its Future?

 

From NAM Input, The National Association of Manufacturers

Do Americans think manufacturing is important? How do they view the technological changes transforming the industry along with the rest of the economy?

Two recent surveys shed light on these important questions. First, a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution asked Americans what they think about manufacturing’s present state. More from the survey summary:

  • “Fifty-eight percent believe manufacturing is very important to the American economy, 14 percent think it is somewhat important, 6 percent feel it is not very important, and 22 percent are unsure.”

However, opinion varied markedly by age group, with younger people seeing manufacturing as less important:

  • “Seventy-one percent of people over the age of 55 believe manufacturing is very important, whereas only 45 percent of those aged 18 to 34 years feel that way. That is a 26 percentage point difference in feelings about the subject between these age groups.”

Now, what about manufacturing’s future? Another survey, by Gallup and Northwestern University, asked Americans, Canadians and Brits whether they thought their countries were prepared for technological change in the “AI age.” From Bloomberg’s writeup:

  • “Just 1 in 4 Americans are confident that the higher education system is doing enough to address the need for career-long learning and retraining.”
  • “Tuition costs are the biggest deterrent, followed by academic programs that aren’t keeping up with an evolving workplace environment, according to the survey.”

These findings underline the importance of The Manufacturing Institute’s mission and the new Creators Wanted Fund that will support significant programming in 2020 to improve industry perceptions as well as expand the Institute’s efforts.

First, too many young people have the wrong image of manufacturing. Many still envision the same sort of factories their grandfathers worked in, instead of the high-tech, stimulating environment it is today. Brookings’ results suggest that manufacturers must do better at showing young people how manufacturing is leading the 21st-century economy—a key mission of the Institute.

Meanwhile, Americans are right to worry that our educational system isn’t prepared for technological change, which will create opportunities as much as disruptions. That’s why the Institute is fundraising for its new $10 million Creators Wanted Fund, which will enable it to increase participation in apprenticeships and other educational programs by 25 percent through 2025. Learn more about the fund and related programming by contacting NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas.

 

The Council of Industry has its own solution, the NYS Registered Apprentice Program is available to individuals with tactical skills and math aptitude. This apprenticeship has two basic elements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, craft person capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner. The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a craft. Applicants must be 18 years or older, eligible to work in the United States and possess a superior work ethic. To be a registered apprentice, an individual must be employed by a participating employer. The apprentice is required to complete a minimum of 18 months up to 4 years of on-the-job training (depending on the position) and 144 hours or required related instruction per year. For more information visit our website or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565 – 1355.

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Building a More Inclusive Workspace

In today’s competitive job market, companies are looking for ways to diversify their employee portfolios and bring in the best talents. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who have not been given the opportunity to utilize their unique skills. One non-profit organization in Michigan is looking to change that. Autism Alliance of Michigan strives to help individuals who are on the autism spectrum find quality jobs that allow them to use the skills they’ve gained through college.

In 2016, Autism Alliance of Michigan teamed up with Ford Motor Co. to employ over a dozen individuals in different fields including communications, engineering, and financing. Other employers across the country including General Motors and DTE Energy Co. have hired dozens of employees with autism. The CEO of Autism Alliance of Michigan emphasized that “there’s this untapped talent pool that we should be looking at to fill these jobs.”

Autism is a developmental disorder that can cause communication and behavioral challenges. This can lead to difficulty finding a job even with a college degree. The government does not specifically track unemployment rates within the autism spectrum community. However, according to The Detroit News, studies have shown it can be as high as 90%. Individuals who do get a job, often get put into positions that are not in their field of study. 

The Detroit News, interviewed Kevin Roach who graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in electronic arts. This type of major focuses on using digital media software like Adobe Photoshop. However, after graduation Kevin was doing manual labor and felt that his talents were not being utilized. Fast forward two years, and Kevin is now working for Ford Motor Credit Co. LLC asa Junior Technical Renewal Analyst. The Autism Alliance of Michigan as well as other organizations provide support for companies that choose to partner with them. This way, if an employee needs support adjusting to a new work environment or new supervisor; they can be put in contact with a support member. This helps employees feel comfortable and accommodated while also allowing them to use their talents.

As a new generation emerges into the workforce, organizations are giving students with Autism a head start at finding a career they have a passion for. Project Search for example, is an initiative that has connected Detroit public schools’ students with disabilities to a broad range of jobs. This way, students are able to get support even before college. Initiatives like these, prove that there is value and importance to build a diverse employee base. There is a lot of potential that could mutually help companies with their workforce needs and individuals looking for a fulfilling job. Companies can help remove boundaries and contribute to their community by partnering up with university disability resource centers. These efforts can help build a more inclusive workforce.

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Meet Korey: Apprentice at Kdc/One Kolmar

 

Meet Korey, CNC Apprentice at KDC/One Kolmar in Port Jervis. Kolmar is a contract manufacturer of color cosmetics and personal care products including eye makeup, lipsticks, pressed and loose powders and bath products to list a few. Korey started working at Kolmar in February as a temporary employee cleaning the facility. While working as a temp Korey learned that Kolmar was opening up an apprentice opportunity for current employees and he was quick to apply. By March Korey was enrolled in the program and ready to learn.

Korey currently lives in Port Jervis but grew up in Manhattan, NY. During high school he became interested in the trades and decided to study optics for a few years between high school and college. Studying this trade gave Korey the opportunity to learn something new while getting to work with his hands, two things he told us he loves to do. He later went on to attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice for 2 years in New York City.  

When he decided to move up to Port Jervis to be closer to his family, he started out working at Walmart as a stock associate. He spent his time stocking the shelves, assisting customers and helping out wherever possible. Not long after, he took the temp position at Kolmar with the hope that it would grow into something more. Being a CNC Apprentice has given Korey the opportunity to gain hands on experience with lathes, mills, band saws and much more. He now has access to different departments throughout the company and a team of coworkers backing him up and helping him learn.  

When we asked Korey what made him want to become a CNC apprentice he told us, “I wanted to be part of the team and to have a purpose. Being in the apprentice program has given me a family at Kolmar and made me feel like I’m part of something.” He works closely with his supervisor and a small group of machinists who have taught him how to read blueprints, make tools and run machines.

Outside of work Korey is also getting related instruction through Tooling-U, an online learning platform specifically for the manufacturing industry. On his own time Korey is taking courses to supplement the experience he’s gaining at work. He told us that after completing each course he sits with his supervisor to review the material and go over any additional questions he might have. This also serves as an opportunity for Korey’s supervisor to relate the material back to his current projects and tasks at Kolmar.

Apprentices in the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program are required to complete 144 hours of related instruction each year. Many apprentices take advantage of other opportunities outside of Tooling-U including in-house training and courses at local community colleges to complete their hours. SUNY Ulster has also received the SUNY Apprenticeship grant, which allows registered apprentices to take up to $5,000 worth of trade related classes for free.

Korey told us that he’s excited and proud to work at Kolmar and be a registered apprentice. His hard work and eagerness have been instrumental in helping him move up from a temporary position to a full-time apprentice. If you or someone you know is looking to pursue a career in manufacturing, consider joining the Kolmar team. You can easily apply to all available positions online at www.kdc-one.com/careers. Search for jobs based on department, upload a resume and fill in a simple application form to apply today! You can also view other currently available manufacturing positions throughout the Hudson Valley on the Council of Industry’s job board: www.HVMfgjobs.com. 

If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

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Meet Peter – Apprentice at Sono-Tek

 

Meet Peter, a CNC Machinist at Sono-Tek Corporation in Milton, NY for the past 2 years. Sono-Tek currently has two apprentices in the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program; Elaine, an apprentice registered under the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) trade (you can read more about Elaine’s story here), and Peter who is registered as a CNC Machinist. Sono-Tek has been the leader in ultrasonic coating solutions for over 35 years, supplying equipment to a variety of industries worldwide, including medical, textiles, glass, electronics and food processing. Peter’s responsibilities at Sono-Tek vary but he spends the majority of his time setting up the CNC machines with the appropriate tooling and cutting parameters.

Peter grew up in Salt Point, NY and attended Ketcham High School. While in school Peter began to develop an interest in IT. After graduation he attended Ridley Lowell – a business, technical and trade school located in Poughkeepsie, NY before its closure in early 2018. Through the connections he made at Ridley Lowell he found his first position in the manufacturing industry at an optics company in Irvington, NY.

Peter first gained experience with CNC machines during the 3 years he spent in his previous job. His position required the operation of lathes machines with diamond turning. Peter explained to us that diamond turning is a much simpler process than what’s required of him in his current position, but it helped him gain the basic skills he needed to be successful at Sono-Tek.

When Peter realized that his work was no longer challenging, he began looking for a position where he could utilize his new skills, and that’s when he found Sono-Tek. He told us, “This position has offered me a chance to continue leaning and growing within the manufacturing industry.” He also said that he’s learned a lot so far including the set-up of over 20 different tools. The apprentice program has even given him the opportunity to gain some experience in programming to satisfy his continued interest in IT.  

Peter joined the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program in February as a CNC Machinist trade after the opportunity was offered to him by his supervisor. He told us that the chance to gain more knowledge and strengthen his skills was what initially attracted him to the program. Peter told us that so far he’s not only sharpened his knowledge of CNC, he’s also gotten to explore and learn from other departments as a result of being in the program. The apprentice program has continued to expose him to different departments and opportunities to learn while on the job.

The Apprentice Program requires a combination of both on-the-job training and related instruction hours. On-the-job training needs the presence of a journey-level worker to guide and instruct the apprentice while at work. Related Instruction hours can be achieved through a variety of platforms. Each registered apprentice receives a free subscription to Tooling-U an online learning platform designed specifically for the manufacturing industry.

Opportunities for related instruction are also available at local community colleges. As a result of the SUNY Apprenticeship grant, SUNY Ulster offers registered apprentices up to $5,000 worth of trade related courses for free. Many companies, like Sono-Tek for example, provide regular on-site training to employees that can also count towards an apprentice’s related instruction hours.

Sono-Tek has been incredibly supportive of both the Council of Industry and the apprentice program. The continued dedication of Vince Whipple and Ed Bozydaj has helped make the program a reality for Sono-Tek employees. “Companies like Sono-Tek are the reason programs like this are successful, they are always looking for meaningful ways to support their employees and remain ahead of the curve” said Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development at the Council of Industry.

If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

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Future Manufacturers in the Making

 

It seems our efforts to share manufacturing career opportunities are beginning to bear fruit. From articles in HV Mfg magazine to the GoMakeIt.org website and its videos highlighting people working in manufacturing to our support of the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy and more educators from across the region are increasingly turning to us to help them connect with the manufacturing sector and the great careers we have.

At schools throughout the Hudson Valley students are increasingly being exposed to the amazing career choices available to them through the manufacturing sector. Council of Industry member companies have been at career fairs and featured prominently in the end of year presentations made at the PTech Program.

Ulster BOCES Hudson Valley Pathways Academy students presented their final projects of the year to an audience of educators, industry leaders, and family members on May 29 at the Ulster BOCES Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning at Anna Devine. The young scholars demonstrated the work they did this past year which included several projects with Council of Industry member companies. The students also reviewed their positive growth and chose a word that described what their hopes were for the year. Positivity, self-confidence, and persistence were popular themes among many of the students. Congratulations to all on a very successful year!

On June 4, the Cornwall Central Middle School hosted a great career exploration event. The students were engaged with a diverse field of employers. The Council of Industry was well represented by members Ametek Rotron and Global Foundries, both of which demonstrated a variety of career paths available in manufacturing.

At the end of May, Valley Central High School hosted a job fair that included Council member Mechanical Rubber Products. This was a schoolwide event that included not only potential career opportunities but summer job offerings too.

There is ever increasing interest in the career paths available in the industrial sector nationwide. The Council of Industry has made it a priority to connect manufacturers with the local schools in an effort to promote the fantastic job opportunities available in manufacturing and various ways to navigate the journey. There is something there for every type of student. If your company would like to be a part of future events contact us.

For more information for students on careers in manufacturing click here

Some videos about manufacturing careers from around the Hudson Valley:

This is Manufacturing

GMI Tool and Die Maker

Meet Mike – Engineering Tech at eMagin

Go Make It YouTube Channel

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Workforce Diversity: New Ideas Within the Manufacturing Industry

 

When we think of diversity, many of us tend to think about physical characteristics. However, workplace diversity entails much more than that and for good reason. In a working environment, each employee brings their own unique personality and work ethics to an organization. An article published in HV MFG’s Fall 2016 issue, highlights the benefits to hiring a diverse workforce. First, bringing different mindsets into a company can help challenge the status quo and use critical thinking to create new ideas. This is becoming increasingly important within the sector of manufacturing as competition continues to grow both domestically and internationally.

In order for a diverse workforce to be truly advantageous to a company, certain steps first need to be met. For example, the organization must be committed to hearing new ideas and accepting criticism when necessary. Having a “it’s always been like this” attitude not only silences the voices of others, but it can lead to stagnation in company growth. In addition, the company culture needs to be open to change, otherwise new employees may start to conform for fear of not being accepted.

To ensure those steps are met, first management endorsement is key for current employees to embrace change rather than fear it. If the management level of an organization is not thrilled about new ideas, no one will be. Interestingly, research has shown that holding numerous diversity training workshops might not be as effective as people think. Often times, individuals will forget most of the information given during the training sessions and it might spark backlash. Instead, focusing on eliminating bias opportunities has a more positive impact. For example, having supervisors objectively evaluate each employee to see who deserves a promotion rather than going with a gut instinct or a supervisor’s personal feelings.

Another important step is to avoid blaming individuals and lecturing employees, this will only cause problems to worsen. Rather, supervisors should rotate employees around to different departments. This not only allows the employee to meet new people, but also helps train them in various skills that could be used in the future. Finally, a workplace should embrace conflict and instead re-frame it as an opportunity to learn. Change can be daunting at times; however, it is necessary in our fast-paced and globalized world. A diverse workforce exposes people to new ideas and fosters growth; all important attributes in the modern-day manufacturing industry.

 The full article on Workplace Diversity on HV MFG’s Magazine can be found here. 

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Find Out About IMAGE – ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers

For many companies around the country, building a successful business starts with hiring a capable workforce.

It can be a tedious process. One that begins with the recruitment of qualified candidates and continues with the subsequent steps of taking those potential employees through the hiring process, all while ensuring that all documentation is in compliance with the law.

As part of the hiring process, companies must conduct regular self-assessments to uncover flaws that could be exploited by unauthorized workers who create vulnerabilities in today’s marketplace by presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits and stealing identities of legal United States workers.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducts outreach through the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, or IMAGE program, to instill a culture of compliance and accountability.

Read more https://www.ice.gov/features/image 

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New York State Apprentice Program Information Session

On December 6th the Council of Industry held an information session for members interested in the New York State Registered Apprenticeship Program. While it was well attended, there maybe be some members that were not able to attend but are interested in receiving more information.  

The NYS registered apprenticeship program has two basic requirements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, skilled worker capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner.

The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a trade. This related instruction component requires apprentices to complete 144 hours of classroom or online training per year.

The process to complete an apprenticeship can take between 16 months and 4 years, but exceptions can be made for someone with previous experience.

Available Trades:

 

Where do the apprentices come from?

Existing Employees – Tools for Retention

An apprentice can be an existing employee who you are seeking to retain or develop for advancement. In this case, your current employee would have access to free online and classroom training to augment the on the job training provided. This model lends itself to the continuous development of employees while backfilling entry-level staff with a clear path for skills development.

New Employee – Career Path Opportunity

Companies can enroll their newly hired employee into an apprenticeship program. This allows new employees a formalized skills development path, access to additional training resources and onboarding assistance.

Searching for New Talent – Recruiting Tool

Job seekers are looking for steady work with the opportunity for advancement. Many job seekers are drawn to apprenticeships and jobs posted as ‘apprenticeable’ traditionally receive more applicants. If you are unsure where to start to recruit potential apprentices, learn more about our recruiting initiative and our candidate pool resources.


Incentives…Incentives and More Incentives

It’s a great time to implement an apprenticeship program. We have partnered with various organizations to offer incentives to registered apprentices.

  • SUNY Apprenticeship Grant – Registered apprentices may have the opportunity to receive up $5,000 worth of courses at SUNY Community Colleges.
  • WDI, Workforce Development Institute – WDI is offering up to $2,000 per registered apprentice to offset the trainers time.
  • NYS Tax Credits – NYS offers $2,000+ tax credit per apprentice; this amount increases each year eventually offer $5,000 per apprentice.
  • Free online training – Each registered apprentice receives a Tooling U license to complete online trade specific training. $500+ value.
  • Administrative help – The Council of Industry manages the administrative aspects of the program. This includes registration, department of labor requirements and setup.

What’s in it for the apprentice?

Upon completion, the apprentice will be registered with the department of labor as a certified tradesman. For example, an apprentice who completes 8,000 hours as a CNC apprentice will receive a certification from NYS DOL and a pocket card identifying him as a Certified CNC Machinist. The apprentice will also earn foundational knowledge and skills to increase their income and potentially qualify for future advancement.

What’s in it for the company?

Most of our members indicate that workforce is their number one concern. Many of them also indicate they are hiring and training on the job. The apprentice program allows companies to enhance their current training program while creating a clear pathway that makes sense to job seekers and employees alike. Companies participating in the program are always training and developing the skills of their employees, this allows them to fill jobs from within and build the talent they need instead of hoping to find the unique skills necessary to fill positions. It is a retention tool to keep employees engaged and a recruiting tool to help differentiate your company.

The on-the-job training is done with someone from your company that already performs that trade and can be the journeyman for the apprentice to learn from. The program requires between 4,000 and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training dependant on the trade. An internship or previous training in that trade can count towards these hours. Much of this time is not instructional but time that the apprentice practices the skills taught by the journeyman while performing his work tasks. Hours are logged each day by the apprentice in relation to which skill was covered during that day’s labor.

The related instruction portion of the training can be done through an online training program called Tooling U, which is free to registered apprentices or through the local community colleges which also are offering related instruction free to registered apprentices. Time spent on this instruction can be paid or unpaid as determined by the company. The apprentice is required to complete 144 hours of related instruction each year.

There is a wage progression required as the apprentice becomes more skilled, but the company sets the starting wage and the rate of progression. Since this is a government backed program anyone that completes it will have a national certification. This is an excellent tool for companies looking to recruit people into these trades and a good way to keep people that are already showing potential.

The Council of Industry is the only organization in the Hudson Valley able to act as a sponsor and administrate this program. We are also in the process of creating a pipeline of possible apprentices but for now, it is best to consider someone you already have working at your company that has potential and interest in becoming a master of one of the trades above.

Even if you are on the fence about registering an apprentice you can still start the paperwork so that once you are ready to go it is a shorter process. There currently is no charge to register an apprentice but there this is something that may change in the future. There is also no penalty for changing your mind. If an apprentice is not working out, you can discontinue the program or switch to a new person and start over. It is relatively painless to register and just requires meeting with Johnnieanne, the Apprentice Coordinator for The Council of Industry, and signing a few papers. If you still have a question or better yet are ready to sign up, contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565-1355.

 

 

 

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2018 Manufacturing Employment Trends

 

As the younger generations continue to enter the workforce at a rapid pace, employers are forced to adjust how they operate. There were several employment trends throughout 2018 that affected the manufacturing industry specifically.

The most prominent trend is the increased emphasis on training and development. As the economy continues to improve, and the manufacturing industry grows, companies are investing more in the training of their employees. This workforce development will be essential in the retention and improvement of young employees. The manufacturing skills gap has been an ongoing issue and that will only be resolved through training and development, and manufacturing companies began to make that adjustment in 2018.

The aging workforce has also continued to cause problems. It’s estimated that “about three in every four Americans plan to work past retirement age, with almost two-thirds projected to work part-time.” This means that fewer jobs and opportunities are available for younger employees. “The population of seniors in the U.S. is expected to more than double from 41 to 86 million between now and 2050.” This lack of opportunity for younger employees is also leading to high turnover rates.

Advancements in technology and artificial intelligence are also making an obvious impact on the workplace. This trend began in 2017 and continues to accelerate with time. Warehouses are using automated order pickers, and algorithms are being used to make the supply chain process more efficient. This technology has made significant improvements in manufacturing, including the level of accuracy and overall productivity. Experts are predicting that these advancements will be even more impactful in the years to come.

Other trends include an increased focus on employee mental health, changes in the reference checking process and an increase in employee interactions. Each of these trends have had significant implications, both positive and negative. It will be interesting to see which of these trends will continue into 2019 and what new trends will arise.

For the full article and list of 2018 employment trends click here.

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Do We Really Need Job Descriptions?

By Rebecca Mazin, Recruit Right, Council of Industry Certificate in Manufacturing leadership Instructor

On a recent Friday afternoon, I sat down to write a job description. Then I took a nap.

To create a job description, I don’t use a formula and simply change a few words, it’s not a rote task. Good job descriptions include required education, experience, competencies, essential functions and reporting relationships. I know the process takes one to one and a half hours. It’s just a boring task. So, I am likely to procrastinate and wait for a slice of unscheduled time.

The employer reviewed this job description and made only a few suggestions. Revising the document brought a familiar question; do we really need job descriptions? In this situation the job description was written to clarify roles, responsibilities and reporting structure. It will be presented to the incumbent in the job to ensure understanding, making certain everyone is on the same page. So, yes, I think it’s a good idea.

Job Descriptions as Living Documents

Many job descriptions reside on shelves in binders or inhabit personnel files as hard copy or in digital folders. They’re consulted so infrequently they could be hibernating. Job descriptions will be more effective if they are dusted off and checked for accuracy and revised regularly.

For employers who conduct a formal performance rating process the job description can be used as a baseline for responsibilities. Promotions or job postings are also perfect times for a job description check. Systems, structures and responsibilities change, particularly items that related to ever changing technology.

Job descriptions are important parts of any discussion about accommodations for a disability. They form the basis for the interactive conversation that identifies essential tasks and potential modifications.

New hires will appreciate a job description. It should be one they understand and has been checked to make certain it is current. Telling a team member, “Don’t worry about this section, we haven’t done that in years,” is not an engaging onboarding statement.

Other Duties As Assigned

No employer wants to get boxed in by a job description that’s treated as a complete list of all responsibilities. To avoid, or respond to, “it’s not my job,” descriptions include a statement that allows for changes, new assignments, something like, “other duties as assigned.” Good idea but not something that should be stressed as the focus of the job description.

An acknowledgment of receipt of the job description, that often includes language about “other duties” is part of many employer’s documents. If these are used, they too should be user friendly. Don’t hand the job description to the employee with a pen and say, “sign here, I’ll give you a copy.” Think about whether asking for the signed acknowledgment is a welcoming statement and if it is your practice frame it as a benefit for everyone at your workplace.

Flip the Format

There is no one format for a job description. Think outside the usual constraint and use a format that works for your organization. I have written what I called, “Job Expectations.”

These include basic headings and simple language such as:

  • Your job title
  • Who you report to
  • Your work hours
  • Your basic responsibilities
  • Here’s who you interact with
  • Some things you will need to learn

User friendly content can also note that duties can change.

Get Employee Input

Staring at a blank document makes a job description even harder to write. When there are incumbents in a position I use a questionnaire to help identify goals, education/experience required, knowledge and skills needed and major and minor duties. It’s important to remember that a good job description is not simply a reflection of what the incumbent is doing in the role. They may have a non-traditional background and be working to stretch into new tasks.

Having a staff member write their own job description can be a tool for engagement if they too don’t start with a blank page. Provide a format or list of content required to avoid a simple list of daily routines. This exercise could be combined with goal setting to set the stage for growth and contributions.

Job Descriptions as Postings are Boring

Job descriptions are not effective job postings. Particularly in a job seekers market 2 – 3 pages of dry language does not inspire a candidate. We seem to forget that a job posting is an advertisement. Just because online sites give plenty of room for job posting content doesn’t mean it should all be used. When a job seeker is using their phone for a search they may only catch the first 4 lines. Will they really read past a 15+ line description of the company to get to details about the job?

When we make it hard for candidates we shouldn’t be surprised to receive so many resumes from individuals with unrelated backgrounds. So keep a job posting as direct and brief as possible with a compelling 2-3 sentence description of the company.

A Resume is Not a Job Description

On the other side of the job search, too many candidates quote, or cut and paste, a job description to write a resume. Employers can spot these resumes right away. They demonstrate minimal preparation and thought. And let’s remember that resumes are not thrilling documents either, no reason to add content that is truly snooze worthy.

Toss the Poorly Written Job Descriptions

I frequently see organizations copy and use documents from other employers. They cut and past a logo and presto: a performance evaluation, job description, form or even employee handbook.

You are better off having nothing than simply bringing job descriptions from other employers, changing a logo, and putting it in place. The concept doesn’t work on so many levels. There’s the obvious, it’s not accurate and the roll out was so poor that no one understands the document. It becomes embarrassing when employees spot content that still includes the name of the employer that was the document source. Even worse when it includes names of senior managers and/or owners.

As I revise this document I can conclude that we don’t need second-rate job descriptions. When they’re sloppy, poorly written and don’t reflect the jobs, toss them.  Job descriptions are valuable when they’re written well and used effectively.

 

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Collaborate Recruitment Initiative Success Story

Fair-Rite Products new hires

Hiring competent, high-quality candidates for open positions is a challenge for all organizations. In an effort to simplify the process for our members The Council of Industry recently began using the applicant tracking software, iCIMS. iCIMS allows Human Resource professionals to more efficiently manage the recruitment process, and helps lessen some of the challenges associated with filling open positions. Debra Sherman, the Human Resources Director at Fair-Rite Products for the last 19 years, started using the program 5 months ago and is extremely satisfied with the results.

Prior to using iCIMS Debra was using Excel Spreadsheets to manage her applicants, and filed resumes manually. She noted the difficulty with sorting through paper resumes and trying to remember which candidates possessed the qualifications she was looking for. During her search to find an applicant tracking system that met her needs The Council of Industry introduced her to iCIMS. The ease of use, and ability to simply search for specific skill sets listed on candidates’ resumes, sparked her interest in the software. She posted her first job on the system 5 months ago, which also published the position to Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and several other employment-oriented platforms. Since that date Fair-Rite Products has posted 17 open positions, received over 350 applications, and filled 10 of those positions.

Debra knew that the software was going to be a success when iCIMS helped her fill a position that Fair-Rite had open for over a year. She was struggling to find a qualified candidate to fill an Applications Engineer position, and had little success uploading the job to LinkedIn and other platforms herself. Once she uploaded the job to iCIMS she finally found the right candidate for the position, and filled the job in just a few short months. Debra believes that iCIMS played a big role in finally finding the ideal person for the job.

iCIMS has vast capabilities, and The Council of Industry continues to assist its members in understanding how to fully utilize the software in order to get the best results. Debra described the system as “robust” and likes that it gives her the ability to easily weed out non-qualified candidates. She also commented on the convenience of always knowing the number of candidates who applied for a job, having the ability to sort candidates by their commuting distance, reviewing the number of days it took to fill a position, and quickly emailing applicants through the system’s email templates. Debra believes that the ability to notify rejected candidates when a position has been filled is a common courtesy that was difficult, if not impossible, to do before she had access to the iCIMS automatic email templates. Now she can easily contact all rejected candidates with just a few clicks.

The success that Debra has experienced at Fair-Rite is a prime example of how beneficial the collaborative recruitment initiative can be for our members. Debra stated that, “The Council of Industry’s solution to our applicant tracking needs has been a huge success and has far surpassed my expectations.” Moving forward she hopes to fully eliminate the paper application with the help of The Council of Industry.

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ADP Employment Report: How do the Numbers Stack Up?

Our associate member ADP has released their latest employment report for December. According to their data, manufacturers added 2,000 jobs in November. It was the second straight month the manufacturing industry had been in positive territory. Total US nonfarm private employment is 257,000. Employment among companies with 50-499 employees increased by 65,000 jobs, up roughly 10 percent from last month.

While two straight months of increasing employment is always welcome news, the report also showcased continuing vulnerabilities in the manufacturing industry. Among the specific industries the report highlighted manufacturing’s increase was noticeably lower than the rest. The financial activities industry added 13,000 jobs, construction added 24,000, trade/transportation/utilities increased by 38,000, and professional/business services was up a whopping 66,000. Overall the average monthly employment growth was almost 200,000 for the year, compared to roughly 240,000 jobs per month in 2014. In the report, Ahu Yildirmaz, VP and head of the ADP Research Institute said that “weakness in the energy and manufacturing sectors was mostly responsible for the drop off.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release official job numbers on Friday.

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