By Lisa Derby Oden, Workforce Program Coordinator, MassMEP
The help wanted ads are everywhere in manufacturing. The industry is facing a skills gap that may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion, according to a study by Deloitte. It can be daunting to look at these numbers and try to figure out how to start to make a dent in filling the skills gap. Just like the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” tackling the issue bit by bit may be the solution. Here are three programs that do just that.
Step One: Start Young
Though your need for employees is immediate and urgent right now, the fact that there are so many jobs to be filled across the industry says that the pipeline hasn’t worked properly for awhile. Manufacturing has faced a bad reputation of dirty, dark, and dangerous for many years, yet the truth is that Advanced Manufacturing is anything but. According to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), “Research has identified middle school as a time when students can benefit the most from career exploration.” This can be achieved by incorporating career oriented project-based learning activities into the classroom. All Made Possible, or AMP, is a new program that offers middle school students that chance to identify a problem, develop a solution, and make a presentation about their concept to industry representatives.
Step Two: Credentials
Look for manufacturing credentials that you can build on with on-the job training. Many students and young people have completed basic manufacturing skills training at vocational technical high schools, community colleges, and other workforce training programs. Many adults have skills that they have developed while working. How do employers know what applicants actually know and where to start with skills training customized to each company’s manufacturing environment? MACWIC testing and credentialing (http://www.macwic.org/training/credentials/) allows an employer to understand the skill set of an applicant, which helps to reduce the cost of hire. It also helps the company to determine where to start with training to meet the company’s specific needs.
Step Three: Get Involved
Jump in and get involved. The more that the younger generation knows about manufacturing, the more they can discover careers that they may have never imagined before. Beyond vocational technical high schools, there are lots of students that attend comprehensive schools that may not be interested in going to college and are looking for their next step. How can manufacturers connect with these students? Manufacturing Your Career Link provides this connection. Companies sign up for free and post their websites, information about their processes and products, and the types of outreach they offer to schools and students. They also post potential job opportunities, co-ops, internships, and the right people to contact if interested. https://massmep.org/manufacturing-careers/
For more information about AMP, contact Sean Killam, 508-831-7020, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about MACWIC testing and credentialing, contact Wendy Storm, 508-831-7020, email@example.com.
For more information about Manufacturing Your Career Link, contact Karen Myhaver, 508-831-7020, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also watch this Working Lunch segment for more details about each program: https://massmep.egnyte.com/fl/NMzDrhtFmn#folder-link/?p