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
On June 8, President Obama announced the goal of credentialing 500,000 community college students with skills certifications aligned to manufacturers’ hiring needs. One of the initiatives Obama believes is a pathway to reach this goal is the NAM Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System. This system is currently being piloted in Northeast Ohio through a Gates Foundation grant that was awarded to the NAM’s Manufacturing Institute. MAGNET has been working with Lorain County Community College to implement the certification system in Northeast Ohio and with the Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to pilot it in other regions of the state. The system supports the integration of nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials into high school, community college, and university programs of study. NAM has partnered with ACT, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Welding Society, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, and the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council in this endeavor. Once again, the need and demand for a skilled workforce makes the headlines and once again the mismatch between the unemployed and underemployed and what our manufacturing employers require are brought to the forefront. Recently, this quandary was highlighted in Manpower’s annual global survey revealing
President Barack Obama visited Northern Virginia Community College on Wednesday, June 8, to spotlight the industry-led, public-private effort to create a coordinated training program to prepare workers for advanced manufacturing jobs. The effort, led by the National Association of Manufacturer’s non-profit educational arm The Manufacturing Institute, is called "The Manufacturing Skills Certification System." Here are links to some of the media coverage of the event: Obama promotes job training as economic imperative, AP via Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 8, 2011 Alexandria, Va.—During a speech at a Northern Virginia Community College campus on Wednesday, President Obama highlighted the expansion of an industry-led initiative to boost training programs. Obama says the initiative could help prepare 500,000 community college students for careers in manufacturing. NAM official welcomes Obama administration endorsement of Skills Certification System, NAM Press Release, June 8, 2011 Washington Wire: Obama to launch manufacturing initiative, by Jared A. Favole, Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2011 (Subscription) Obama expands training for manufacturing, Youngstown Business Journal, June 9, 2011
Published May 23, 2011, 10:50 a.m., by Robert Schoenberger "CLEVELAND, Ohio — Canton bearing maker the Timken Co. and Stark State College plan to open a wind turbine research and development center near the Akron Canton Airport next year that will also offer certification training to students. The $11.8 million project will be adjacent to the airport on 15 acres of land the college recently purchased for a new Stark State Emerging Technologies Airport Campus."
March 31, 2011, Washington, DC—The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, has released a comprehensive blueprint for education reform designed to develop the 21st-century talent critical to U.S. manufacturing and global competitiveness. The Roadmap to Education Reform for Manufacturing lays out six principles for innovative reform, including moving to competency-based education; establishing and expanding industry-education partnerships; infusing technology in education; creating excitement for manufacturing careers; applying manufacturing principles like "lean" to reduce education costs; and, expanding successful youth development programs. Read the complete press release from The Manufacturing Institute. Download the Roadmap for Reform document.
This weekend’s article on NPR by Chris Arnold, As Manufacturing Demand Grows, So Do Jobs, reiterates what I mentioned in my February post, that employment in the manufacturing sector is picking up and will continue to rise. For example, according to the Labor Department, manufacturing created 33,000 jobs last month (See: Employment Situation Summary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Labor, March 4, 2011). More importantly, the NPR article mentioned the story of a 60-year-old man who had been out of work for two years, but chose to use his time wisely and re-tool his skills and get the type of training he needed to work in today’s manufacturing facilities. He went to a community college for a year and was recently hired as a computer-controlled-machine (CNC) operator. This success story can be seen across the country, including in Northeast Ohio, but we need more of them. We are fortunate that our region’s community colleges offer many short-term certification programs in the area of advanced manufacturing. In addition, there is some funding to assist with tuition which is crucial when one is unemployed. The industry certainly needs to attract young workers, but it also benefits from workers with experience