Your organization can’t perform better than your least-engaged employee. Why? Equipment problems are ignored by unskilled workers who don’t have the training to fix them. Defective products are shipped by disaffected associates who have no incentive to catch errors. Dissatisfied customers become even angrier when powerless service representatives don’t have the authority to help them. Each of your employees has thousands of opportunities to identify and fix problems every year, whether on the plant floor or in the office. Yet manufacturers report that only half of their workforces are fully engaged in their improvement methodologies, such as lean or six sigma. Just as surprising: Poor levels of engagement are common across manufacturing, at companies both big and small. This offers a rare advantage to smaller companies — with fewer employees to train, empower, and engage in their methodologies — for rapid improvement and competitive advantage. That’s the good news. The bad news is this: Far too many leaders — at companies of all sizes —jealously guard the authority to make changes and become production heroes. In fact, a full 25 percent of manufacturers describe the breadth and depth of adoption of their improvement methodologies as “none” or “minimal.” The worst
MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network has partnered with Cuyahoga Community College in the design and delivery of fast track training programs that include a paid internship at local companies that are ready to hire. Cleveland manufacturers like Auto Diesel Piston Ring, Curtiss Wright, Kennametal, SSP Fittings, Soundwich, and Jergens have committed to providing these internships as a first step for job seekers to get the experience that companies are looking for. The training programs provide job seekers with the skills needed to start on a middle skill career path in advanced manufacturing. The old manufacturing jobs in Northeast Ohio are disappearing. They are being replaced by career positions in advanced manufacturing. Companies are looking for individuals with specific skills related to designing and making the high quality, specialized products needed in a wide variety of industries from aerospace to automotive to advanced systems. Individuals with experience are in high demand. However, many potential applicants are overlooked because they don’t have the required experience. The fast track training programs offer the ability to gain experience quickly! In an interview about his training experience, a recent graduate of the welding fast track training program commented that he was looking for
Countless news reports point to the skills gaps among U.S. manufacturers, particularly among small- and mid-sized companies. Executives quoted in these articles typically cite a familiar litany of complaints about potential employees: poor math skills, inability to pass drug tests, lack of work ethic, don’t like manufacturing, blah, blah, blah. But the topic that should really concern these leaders is how terrible most companies are at leveraging the latent talent they already have — and augmenting it selectively with new employees. The sad truth is that most manufacturers, for all their worry about talent, don’t have the simple strategies, plans, and best practices in place to address those concerns. The numbers are clear: Almost half of U.S. employers report that talent shortages have a medium to high impact on their business. Yet a full 20% of these companies have no strategy to overcome talent shortages. The MPI Group found that 11% of manufacturers have no human-capital management strategy, while another 27% have only a generic strategy with little or no functional involvement (i.e., operations and production staff are disconnected from HR practices). How can a manager break his reliance on the “skills gaps” excuse? By deploying the 3Es (Educate, Engage,
A shortage of skilled workers to fill current vacancies and the growing skills gap in the manufacturing workforce is becoming one of the most pressing problems facing manufacturers. Whether it is a new product, increased sales, or more innovative equipment, employers are seeking talent for the changing manufacturing landscape. Finding a pool of potential candidates with the necessary knowledge and skills can be a daunting task. Employers frequently voice their frustration and dissatisfaction with the caliber of individuals seeking manufacturing positions. Finding individuals who can quickly master the needed skills and who fit into the company’s culture can be frustrating. Upskilling current workers is one strategy that companies are starting to consider as a way to get the needed qualified workforce. Incumbent worker training, whether delivered at the company or at an educational institution, can be the short-term solution. Current employees have already demonstrated their ability to do the work and fit into the company’s culture. Providing them an opportunity for training is often a welcome benefit that can lead to promotions and employee retention. Partnering with a local community college or university can provide easy access to quality instruction that can be adapted to meet the company’s needs.
As companies enter the new calendar year, many will be faced with workforce challenges. Some will be seeking new employees to fill vacancies created by the retiring baby boomers; others will be looking for employees with skills to meet the changing demands brought on by new technologies or production of new, more complex products. Regardless of the need, solutions will be more difficult due to a smaller pool of candidates with the necessary knowledge and skills. Recent articles and research reports are suggesting that companies need to step up and become part of the solution. After all, complaining and blaming others will not lead to a skilled workforce. MAGNET is partnering with employers and educators to develop and implement strategies to address current and future manufacturing talent needs. One of the most successful approaches is an internship program offered by a local career-technical school, college, or university. Employers are finding that interns not only bring new perspectives and energy to their workforce, but they also may become the new employee needed to fill a vacancy. Students in technical training programs are prepared to work in skilled production positions and become contributors more quickly and often with less on-the-job training than
Did you know Ohio is the third-largest manufacturing state in the country based on employment? Manufacturing is indeed experiencing a resurgence, and employers are growing anxious to develop their future talent pipelines by engaging the next generation of workers. In addition to promoting new internships, co-ops, and apprenticeships for students entering the workforce, Dream It Do It Ohio has partnered with WVIZ/Ideastream in Cleveland to present a new distance-learning program geared toward getting prospective workers interested in the exciting careers manufacturing has to offer. The Career Awareness program comprises a series of transmitted 45-minute segments focused on companies and organizations in Northeast Ohio who offer a range of opportunities for young people. The first broadcast, which aired Oct. 7, featured representatives from Nordson Corporation who were hired as a result of their strong STEM skills and interest in manufacturing. Two award-winning high school robotics teams also presented on their design process and included a live demonstration of one of their finished works! View the Oct. 7 program at the Ideastream website On Nov. 12, participating schools will get to hear insights from young employees at Alcoa, a global leader in lightweight metals manufacturing that serves markets in the aerospace, automotive,
Ohio manufacturers are opting for a new model that may build the future workforce and further the state’s economy. Launched last month by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), the new Ohio Manufacturing Careers Council is an initiative that aims to harness and build manufacturing skills across different age groups. The group, which has already acquired nearly $700,000 in funding, aims to foster a strong pipeline of current and future workers by partnering with state workforce and education groups. "There are a lot of manufacturers who have been very proactive in reaching out to local schools, banding together to try to come up with strategies at the local or regional level related to image," said Cheryl Hay, deputy chancellor for higher education and workforce alignment for the Ohio Department of Higher Education. "There are a lot of great things going on. Our job at the state level will be how do we loop all those together, honor what is going on in those areas and then create an overall state strategy." As part of these efforts, MAGNET has partnered with the Dayton Regional Manufacturers Association (DRMA) to assess and improve the image of manufacturing
The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Program Partnership (MEP) has introduced a new program intended to help high school students find internships - and potential careers - in local manufacturing. The MEP internship program is modeled on a work-based learning program created by MAGNET, and has been adopted by the entire state. The program is based on the premise that high school students have developed skills during career technical programs and can still develop these skills while in high school. Students are provided with the opportunity to apply these skills in real-world settings and to show manufacturers the value of offering students these opportunities and the value of providing on-the-job learning. MAGNET MEP Internship MAGNET Polaris Internship "It’s a great opportunity for schools and manufacturers to take a proactive role in developing a highly skilled manufacturing workforce for now and the future," said Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce and Talent Development at MAGNET. The Manufacturing Extension Project reimburses part of the wages paid to the students by the manufacturing during the internship, and over 70 percent of students engaged in the programs were hired after the internship.
Over 100 business and community leaders attended the Aug. 31 ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Max S. Hayes High School in Cleveland. The product of a $48-million renovation job, the new vocational facility joins John Marshall High School and the Cleveland School of the Arts as part of the triad of high schools opening this fall. The event featured remarks from U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, state Sen. Michael J. Skindell, Wire-Net President John Colm, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and Cleveland councilman Matt Zone. Each speaker emphasized the high importance of making students aware of the workforce opportunities available to them and the skills training and support available to get there. In addition to working with economic development nonprofit Wire-Net, the school has also partnered with MAGNET to ensure America’s youth has the education and skill training to prepare them for careers in manufacturing. The state-of-the-art upgrades to the school will allow more than 800 students to graduate with one of seven certifications and learn a valuable trade in automotive technology, construction technologies, engineering, welding, manufacturing design, precision machining, and software development. For more information on the new Max Hayes Vocational School and how MAGNET is helping to leverage the region,
There were many takeaways from MAGNET’s August 6th Develop your Workforce for Growth event, but a key one is this: do your due diligence. Today’s manufacturing landscape is both promising and challenging; while some challenges may be out of your business’ hands, there are many things you can do to strengthen your workforce. Our Develop your Workforce event explored workforce strategies that your company can adopt and are completely within your company’s control. Director of Workforce & Talent Development Judith Crocker and Senior Business Consultant Donna Rhodes framed a variety of workforce challenges facing manufacturers today. Manufacturers, who often have unskilled incumbent workers as well as a shortage of applicants, are not aligned with company needs and culture. Crocker and Rhodes stressed that companies must be proactive rather than reactive in addressing these challenges. The event featured a panel of three leaders in companies that have successfully addressed workforce challenges, ranging from addressing skills gaps to retaining employees. Bill Swan, Lead OJT Coordinator at Swagelok, spoke about Swagelok’s successful program for developing a consistent talent pipeline. To improve their outlook, Swagelok partnered with Tri-C and MAGNET to create a fast-track program for potential employees. Participants who successfully complete