Addressing the Skills Gap in NE Ohio

For the past ten years or more, we have been “warned” about the coming skills gap crisis in our country. Researchers and economists have provided data that indicate that we will have hundreds of jobs going unfilled while hundreds of people are looking for work. The recent recession caused many to discount this warning due to the large number of people who lost their jobs, particularly in manufacturing.

However, the reality of the skills gap is now starting to emerge and is looming on the horizon as we continue to observe the number of “baby boomers” leaving the workforce.

The manufacturing industry and its often higher paying jobs is leading the way in the economic come back, it is also on the leading edge of the skilled worker retirements. Many of the job seekers do not have the skills needed to participate in modern advanced manufacturing. Some lack a work ethic and understanding of the work environment, others lack the basic academic skills, as well as the technical, math, and science needed to design and manufacture all kinds of products and parts.

Our returning veterans represent one source to fill the skills gap. An analysis of the knowledge and skills acquired in the service of our country indicates that with a little training and some assistance, they can begin to fill the skills gap and enter a career position in advanced manufacturing.

Many companies have come forward identifying over 200 available jobs that could possibly be filled by these veterans. In the coming months, MAGNET will be working with a number of partners to develop a process to facilitate this connection and help these veterans more quickly enter the workforce and also connect with education and training through which they can advance to better paying jobs.

This is one solution. Others are needed for other groups within our population. Hopefully some of the other new projects in Northeast Ohio will help individuals gain the knowledge and skills to more quickly enter the workforce and close the skills gap.

M. Judith Crocker Ed. D., Director, Manufacturing Education Affairs, leads MAGNET’s efforts to work with regional educational institutions to help them identify the education and training needs of manufacturers.

Before joining MAGNET, Crocker served as Director of Corporate and Community Outreach Services, Executive Director of Workforce Development at Lorain County Community College. She has also worked with the Cleveland City Schools delivering workforce education programs.

Crocker holds a Bachelors degree in Education from the University of Toledo; a Masters of Education degree from the University of Utah and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Utah. She is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, University Continuing Education Association, Association for Career and Technical Education and the Greater Cleveland Adult Education Council.

Posted by MAGNET Ohio in Workforce-Development, Workforce-Training

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