The Skills Gap and the Manufacturing Industry
In the past twenty years, American industries have rolled over and many went belly up, and not all of it was due to the national and international economy. In my father’s time, blue collar and white collar workers alike had goals of gaining a position with an established and growing company, where the ultimate objective was to stay with that company employer, working your way through the levels, until you could retire with a comfortable pension. Companies felt an obligation to workers, and the workers reciprocated with loyalty and remaining with the company for the duration.
Change of Need, Change of Speed
Today when I look around my durable metals manufacturing company, There are vacancies where skilled workers should be plying their trade. The German expression that man with a trade has a golden foundation should be even truer today, but sadly, there is an ever present gap between employee training skills available in my workers and the employment billets I need to fill. I know the work force is available, ready and willing to do a hard day’s work for a good day’s pay. I need to develop a program to initiate, educate and retain employees today to train and stay, proficient with the tools and programs coming down the future years. I feel it is my responsibility to turn off the negativity toward company loyalty, tenure, apprenticeship, and trade skill levels and turn on the younger new hires to the goal of joining my company and learning everything they can about the metal manufacturing industry so that they are assured of a seat in our company’s ride to success.
My check list for achieving tenured employees:
- Organizing school (public, trade, college) field trips to the manufacturing plants.
- Arrange personnel visits to schools to give presentations, answer questions and encourage apprenticeship and employee training in our company.
- Promotion of apprenticeship programs.
- Offering internship and apprenticeship positions in the manufacturing sector.
- Have the manufacturing skilled position waiting for the successful intern in employee training so they know they are working toward a future with the company.
- Open avenues for other companies to source work to us.
Importance of Training Youth.
Everyone wins by empowering youth. I will build growing a workforce to suit my company needs from the local people.
• Engaging youth builds a long term solution to my supply and demand flex of skilled labor vacancies.
• By giving work experiences and employee training; I encourage skilled workers.
• They learn to make informed job choices.
• Young talent comes with ideas, innovations and willing to change status quo. They still think the impossible is possible.
• The young are ambitious, achievement-oriented and crave meaningful jobs that really do something. Give one a job with a future and he will have pride in it being performed correctly.
For most youth, landing that first job is a huge milestone. They greatly contribute to productivity and quality. My company needs them now, honing skills and making improvements in the old ways.
I want this generation aware that we used to be a great manufacturing nation and the silent steel mills of the Rust Belt are a tragedy. I want them to know they can take back the title of Great Manufacturing Nation, and by doing it, they guarantee good careers not only for themselves but their offspring.
If our youth have a future in the U.S., it is because they have a future in our industries: manufacturing, research, assembly, transportation and holding the reins to the galloping digital tech industry.