Closing the Skills Gap with Plant Tours, Pep Talks and Child Care

Julie Mockbee lost her job as a production planner at Johnson Controls at age 51, when the company closed her plant and moved to Mexico. Freshly unemployed after a 20-year tenure there, she immediately started looking for new work in manufacturing, a field that had been good to her all those years.

“I didn’t want a job that I had to take home with me,” says the Kentucky grandmother. “I wanted to go in, get my eight hours in, get paid decent money and go home.”

At the unemployment office, she learned she qualified for retraining, something she didn’t feel confident about doing at first. “I had been out of school way too long, I thought, to be able to do it,” she recalls.

But employment counselors encouraged her to apply for a training program in the Cincinnati metropolitan area, started by 26 women hailing from the education, manufacturing and nonprofit worlds. The founders of the program, called Raise the Floor saw middle-skill manufacturing jobs as a way for women to move out of poverty. According to 2016 data from the nonprofit Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), women hold fewer than 10% percent of jobs in the growing areas of advanced manufacturing and transportation/distribution/logistics.

Click here to read more about the Raise The Floor Initiative in the IndustryWeek posting by Laura Putre.

About Timmothy Boettcher

Business Career Originally recruited in 1998 as a software engineer to design and develop cutting edge technology for new products, Mr. Boettcher assumed leadership for Research and Development and then Engineering before being named President of Realityworks in 2005. Responsible for total operations, he has driven significant understanding of market opportunities, gatekeepers, and funding in education, healthcare, and public service markets; bolstered production and supply chain efficiencies; acquired and launched new age technology; rebuilt leadership competencies; led growth into the Company’s over 65% US school system and over 90 country presence; and led the implementation of the Company’s ESOP to build on the societal mission of the Company and further the family oriented culture to reward employees for their success in achieving the mission and efforts to drive growth. Focused on high market growth, he has led the Company’s turnaround and achieved double-digit top line growth simultaneously with dramatic profit and cash flow improvement. Mr. Boettcher brings more than twenty years of engineering, product development, and global operations experience in education, advanced technology, manufacturing, and distribution industries. Prior to joining Realityworks, he held positions at Cray Research, a leading manufacturer of the world’s fastest supercomputers and Wal-Mart Distribution, the world’s leader in distribution and logistics. Professional & Community Activities Mr. Boettcher is passionate about building effective connections between our countries workforce development system, economic development programs, and education infrastructure. A solid connection between these systems is needed to ensure our youth and workforce are prepared to be global competitive and ready to take on the challenges and needs faced by industry. In delivering on this passion Mr. Boettcher: - has presented workforce development strategies on the national level for Harvard’s Pathway’s to Prosperity, U.S. Department of Labor, and at many Career and Technical Education events. - established and currently chairs the Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC), a national level group of industry leaders that works directly with education to increase support for Career and Technical Education in the country in alignment with industry needs. - served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Career and Technical Education. - chaired the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (Chair) to help establish and lead regional workforce development initiatives. - established and led the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin (Chair) to help bring critical C-level talent to start-ups and small to mid-sized companies to help them grow. - served on the Board for the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation (President). - and provides guidance to institutions like the International Business Programs Advisory Council of the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire). Mr. Boettcher also holds seven U.S. and foreign patents.

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