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Manufacturing Skills Gap

Let’s Get Real about the Skills Gap and Start Solving It

From IndustryWeek, By Michael Collins 

A 2018 survey published by the Manufacturing Institute says that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in the next decade and 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled. Now there are people who say this skills gap is a lie. But the fact is that as skilled people retired, manufacturing companies, particularly the multi-national corporations, did not invest in the advanced training programs to replace the retiring workers.

We are 500,000 workers short today. A recent article in Industry Week said that “during the first quarter of 2019 more than 25% of manufacturers had to turn down new business opportunities due to lack of workers.”

Read the full article

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The Many Advantages of Apprenticeship Programs

 

Apprenticeship Programs are becoming a popular method of addressing the manufacturing skills gap, but not everyone is aware of the additional benefits they can provide. Interest in STEM is increasing around the county and students are beginning to consider their options outside of college. In order to prepare this young workforce for a career in manufacturing many companies are joining or adopting their own apprenticeship programs.

An obvious advantage of these programs is that they provide an organized way of directly addressing the industry-wide skills shortage. The skills gap seems to be ever increasing with the rapid advancements in technology, and these programs help companies keep up. Enrolling capable and eager employees in apprentice programs allows them to gain the additional skills and knowledge needed to perform better at work. This creates an environment filled with highly skilled employees that have the ability to adapt and grow with the company.

Apprentice Programs can also establish a culture that is rooted in learning and growth, which is important for the long-term success of a company as markets change. The new-found confidence that comes with your company investing in you can inspire apprentices to ask more questions and challenge day-to-day processes. These fresh new perspectives can lead to improvements throughout all departments of a company.

However, the most important advantage of apprentice programs may be their ability to aid in the retention of quality employees. As many manufacturers know, finding qualified, capable and eager candidates to fill open positions has become a challenge, but it can often be even more challenging to keep them. Providing apprentices with a deeper understanding of the company can instill a sense of loyalty and devotion to the company that choose to invest in their success.

The Council of Industry’s NYS Registered Apprentice Program provides apprentices with a nationally recognized accreditation as a journey-level worker upon completion of the program. The program consists of both related instruction courses and on-the-job training to provide apprentices with a well-rounded understanding of the trade. There are currently eight different registered trades available: Machinist (CNC), Electro-Mechanical Technician, Electronics Technician, Maintenance Mechanic, Quality Assurance Auditor, Toolmaker, Welder and Industrial Manufacturing Technician.

The program typically takes about four years to complete and provides our members with all of the advantages previously outlined. 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.

To view currently available apprenticeship positions click here or email your resume to jobs@councilofindustry.org.

For the full article about apprenticeship programs and their advantages click here.

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A Value Proposition with an Altruistic Twist

 

By Guest Blogger Stephen Casa

Last month I wrote about the incredible opportunity businesses have to find and cultivate talent, by partnering with a local BOCES. This month I’d love to tell you what happens at one and how you can benefit. I’ll use Ulster BOCES as an example.

Ulster BOCES provides cost effective solutions to eight component school districts by offering programming for students and adults, professional development for educators, and much more. There are close to thirty, industry specific, programs offered at the Career & Technical Center, Hudson Valley Pathways Academy and Special Education Center.

Instructors and staff in these programs are highly skilled in that area, in fact, many come directly from industry with many still actively engaged. Students are given the opportunity to learn and be trained on the most current and innovative technology using industry vetted curriculum. Students are also offered authentic experiences in the local workforce such as field trips, guest speakers, job shadowing, mentoring, internships, etc. These are all managed by a workplace learning coordinator. Ulster BOCES collaborates with the county workforce development office to ensure our future workforce has the soft skills necessary to be successful in the workplace.

As you can see, a partnership with your local BOCES can be a cost effective, value add for your company.

In 1948, the New York State legislature created Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to provide shared educational programs and services to school districts within the state. Today there are 37 BOCES that are partnering with nearly all of the state’s school districts to help meet students’ evolving educational needs through cost-effective and relevant programs. Learn more and find a BOCES program near you here.

 Stephen Casa
Workplace Learning Coordinator
Ulster BOCES
scasa@ulsterboces.org
 www.ulsterboces.org

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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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Meet Lane – Tool & Die Maker at Schatz Bearing

Lane Mitchell has been working at Schatz Bearing Corporation for the last 11 months as a Tool & Die Maker, and he’s also the newest feature in our video about careers in manufacturing. The Council of Industry’s project, Go Make It, has recently worked with Stage 6 Media to create a video that would highlight Lane’s journey as a toolmaker.

Lane was in high school when jobs within the manufacturing field first struck his interest. However, similar to many other high school students today, he was discouraged from pursuing this career path. Lane’s guidance counselor believed that his strong scholastic performance suggested that an academic path would be more appropriate for him. This prevented him from being a part of his local BOCES program.

Despite the discouragement from his guidance counselor, after high school Lane attended Alfred State College to pursue a degree in Machine Tool Technology. Two years later he received his degree and began his career within the manufacturing field. Prior to his career at Schatz, Lane had 2 other jobs within the field, one as a machinist and another as a toolmaker. He’s extremely satisfied with his decision to pursue a vocational career path, and wants to encourage others with similar interests to not get discouraged if people are unsupportive.

Lane appreciates that everyday at Schatz is different. He’s tasked with creating smaller tools that become a part of much bigger machines to help them run efficiently. Lane said his favorite part of the job is “being able to see something come out of nothing.” Each part doesn’t turn out exactly like the last, which forces him to adapt and overcome small challenges everyday. The satisfaction that Lane receives each day from performing his job is reassuring to him that he chose the right career path.

Lane enthusiastically shared this story with The Council of Industry, and hopes that it will inspire other students who are also interested in manufacturing. Go Make It strives to inform students and educators about careers in advanced manufacturing in an effort to lessen the skills gaps in the Hudson Valley. To learn more about Lane’s job as a Tool & Die Maker at Schatz Bearing check out the video here!

 

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NBC Nightly News Reports of Skills Gap in Manufacturing

NBC Nightly News (3/8, story 4, 2:05, Williams) reported, “Even with so many Americans still unemployed, some companies, manufacturers in particular, are having trouble finding workers.” NBC (LeBeau) added, “Over the last two years American manufacturers have hired more than 400,000 workers. At the same time the number of manufacturing jobs unfilled has more than doubled to 264,000” due to “a lack of applicants with the skills or education to run or build machines that are more complex.”

NBC Nightly News Article of Skills Gap

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