There is an assumption that manufacturing jobs are tedious, repetitive and low-skilled, and provide no intellectual stimulation. This is a complete myth – have you visited a U.S. manufacturer recently?
Manufacturers are looking to regain momentum, and have redesigned and streamlined production lines while implementing more process automation. Ultimately, the manufacturing industry has changed and, resultantly, manufacturing jobs have changed. For instance, a recent study found that manufacturing executives are concerned about the skills gap in their business. Furthermore, manufacturers find the hardest jobs to fill are those that have the biggest impact on manufacturing performance, such as production jobs: machinists, operators, technicians and craft workers. Skills demanded for these roles include blueprints, quality control and quality systems, lean manufacturing, good manufacturing practice (GMP), and Six Sigma.
Additionally, manufacturing talent scouts are looking for workers that not only have the technical skills, but good interpersonal and communication skills as well. A strong work ethic and high-level enthusiasm are just as necessary. However, how are manufacturers finding workers and filling the skills gap?
Manufacturers are investing in talent.
Finding workers with the necessary skills is only part of the equation. Manufacturers today are looking to develop internal talent efforts to close the skills gap and remain competitive. For instance, manufacturers are creating career development programs that align employees’ expectations and want for job growth.
Employers are asking workers to identify what type of training they would like as well. For instance, The Rhode Island Manufacturers Association surveyed manufacturing employees, and respondents stated they were interested in computer and IT training, accounting, communication skills, project management, and leadership. Using survey results, manufacturers can build training programs that fit the needs of their business along with providing programs geared toward the interest of employees.
Manufacturers are focusing on the next generation.
San Antonio manufacturers have partnered with the Alamo Community Colleges to introduce high-school students to manufacturing careers. Furthermore, they’ve partnered in developing a dual-credit program that incorporates classroom instruction with hands-on learning. Students in the program can graduate high school with 35 credits, a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), and the Production Technician Certification from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC). Local manufacturers were able to provide input into the program design and curriculum, and offer job internships to students as well.
The U.S. manufacturing industry is working to bridge the skills gap and Sikich continues to follow this manufacturing challenge.