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The Skills Gap

The re-emergence of the manufacturing sector has, unfortunately, highlighted the fact that America has some issues to work on moving forward. The most obvious of these issues has been shown to be fitting skilled workers into the right job. Due to the spread of manufacturing, the evolution of necessary skills, and new processes, this skills gap has made it difficult for manufacturing businesses to fill all the positions they need.

To address the gap, manufacturers must first realize the causes of the gap. In many cases, it’s not an issue of simply finding a worker – it’s a problem of finding the right worker, with the right skills, in the right area. In some areas, workers may not have the skill set needed, while other areas may not have the workers needed at all. In some cases, the manufacturer may be looking for a “perfect” candidate instead of choosing a trainable, semi-skilled candidate.

One way that manufacturers have been working to grow an employee base to choose from is engaging with the local community, and offering people the opportunity to see inside manufacturing. By demonstrating that manufacturing is a career choice with plenty of growth, the younger generation can begin to see it as part of their future.

A second way, one that is demonstrating itself to be quite successful, is teaming up with vocational schools to groom young students to enter the manufacturing workforce after high school. One such program in Marion, Ohio is being particularly proactive – called the Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative (RAMTEC), it is a revolutionary program.

Up to this point, many vocational schools and career centers were outfitted with obsolete machinery that was donated by manufacturers for tax write-offs. RAMTEC has combined the forces of Marion Technical School, The Ohio State University, Tri-Rivers Career Center, and local manufacturers to create an advanced center for training. RAMTEC gives high school students, as well as adults looking to change careers, the opportunity to work with industrial robots and learn advanced manufacturing practices in a supervised environment. It is so advanced that the local Whirlpool plant now send their employees to RAMTEC for certifications and advanced training.

Centers like RAMTEC are a great step towards closing the skills gap for good. As vocational schools come up to current standards and all schooling begins to provide more education in the vital STEM fields, the skills gap will fall into the past. At Swiss Precision Machining, we plan on doing our part to help close the skills gap, and we look forward to the future generations of workers that we will have the opportunity to train and teach, and work with. We work very closely with some local High Schools, Wheeling High School and Maine East High School to mention a few, even providing tours for the students to see first-hand our operation. We also work with BIR Training Centers and Symbol Training Centers. In addition to these, we exhibit at numerous “Job Fairs”. Some of the ones we exhibit at are TMA Job Fairs, Niles Chamber of Commerce, Chicago State College and Northeastern College. And we have been successful at these, hiring 2 Engineers and an Intern from Northeastern. Beyond this, we also post on numerous Job Board and College sites as well as working closely with several staffing companies. We truly believe that taking advantage of all these different approaches will solidify our employee base well into the future.

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