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Bring Back Vocational Training

We’re all aware of the unfortunate manufacturing skills gap, which has developed in part as a result of the “college-for-everyone” mentality. The search for qualified and experienced employees has been a struggle in recent years as the workforce nears retirement age and fewer young adults are pursing vocational career paths. A major contributing factor to this issue has been the elimination of vocational training in high schools.

The United States education system has been slowly removing vocational training from high schools since the 1960s. High school curriculum is now much more focused on preparing students for college. However, even with this push for students to receive a higher education, the statistics aren’t promising. About 68% of high school students attend college in the United States, but nearly 40% of those students who go to a four-year school don’t complete the program.

Bringing back vocational training would help expose these students to other options outside of college. We’re doing a disservice to these young adults by not educating them on alternative career paths. Bringing back vocational training would be beneficial to high school students and the entire manufacturing industry at large. 

However, many high schools have begun recognizing this need and searching for ways to diversify the curriculum. Pine Bush High School, right here in Upstate New York, has been actively preparing students for careers in various fields. Principal Aaron Hopmayer has initiated several programs that teach students vocational skills. Most recently he’s leading an effort to develop a PRIME program (Partner Response in Manufacturing Education) at the high school. 

If you’d like to read more about the need to bring back vocational training in schools, you can find the full article here.

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There’s Gold in the Hills of the Hudson Valley

How Partnering with Education Institutions can Help Identify your Future Workforce

By Guest Blogger Stephen Casa

As I travel around the Hudson Valley meeting with various leaders in industry, I hear the same concern, “We can’t find enough qualified employees to fill the positions that are being left vacant by retirement, innovation, etc.” This is where a value added strategy can benefit employers: developing collaborative partnerships with education.

The value proposition is simple, participate with an educational institution in one of the following ways: content area consulting, curriculum development, field trip provision, guest speaking, mentoring students, job shadowing, providing externship opportunities for educators, providing internships (compensated and non-compensated) for students who demonstrate readiness, sit on advisory boards, etc. All of these opportunities will allow the education institution to provide you with a glimpse of your potential workforce and it will create an opportunity for young people to learn about your business/industry. They will also be trained in your culture. Often these partnerships lead to long term employment, initially they get you what you need, prepared, employable, entry level employees.

Don’t hesitate to act, contact your local BOCES today and ask how you can be a part of the solution.

Stay connected as I will be contributing regularly with more specific instructions for engagement.

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