Barren County High School students tour new CTE facility

“This is a dream come true for many, many people, for many, many reasons,” Barren County Schools Superintendent Bo Matthews said as he was surrounded by students at the entrance of the school’s new Career Technical Education facility.

Although the CTE building is still under construction, Barren County High School students were able to tour the facility on Friday.

“You might have heard that this is a football stadium,” Matthews continued. “That’s not the whole story.

 “It is so much more.”

Matthews told the students that the CTE building is a “state-of-the-art, 44,000 square-foot career and technical education facility.”

“The field house is in the basement,” he said. “And there’s a brand new, top-of-the-line turf field that’s coming to Barren County High School’s football program.”

Matthews added that the field will also serve the school’s band and track programs, with the capacity to host major events.

“This is a project that addresses many, many different things at one time,” he said.

Click here to read Will Perkins’ complete article published on The Glasgow Daily Times website.

Bridging sales-talent gap requires change in mindset

The Canadian ecosystem has grown incredibly over the past five to 10 years, especially in the tech sector, where we’re increasingly seeing game-changing innovations and international interest from investors.

 In fact, 2017 was a record year for investment in Canadian tech, with a total amount of funding reaching $2.7-billion and the average deal size spiking by 31 per cent from 2016.

However, we’re also experiencing a serious shortage in young sales talent – potentially becoming a significant barrier to long-term growth.

 Despite the fact that career openings in sales are on the rise, it continues to be ranked as one of the most difficult jobs to place. According to Manpower Group’s annual Talent Shortage Survey, sales ranked in the top-five hardest jobs to fill in Canada in 2016. And among the 10 broad occupational categories, sales and service occupations had the largest number of job vacancies in 2016, according to Workopolis.

Business confidence in economy soars while concerns over skills gap grow

U.S. business leaders are increasingly confident in the global economy but fear the toll a widening skills gap could have on their firms, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Executives polled in JPMorgan Chase’s annual business outlook survey conducted Jan. 2-19 expressed growing faith in strong 2018 economic growth, but voiced concerns about the long-term prospects of hiring.

The online survey of 1,685 executives from midsize businesses – defined by the bank as having $20 to $500 million in yearly revenue – showed more than two-thirds (69 percent) expressing confidence in the global economy, a 39-point increase since 2017.

Click here to read Sylvan Lane’s complete article published on The Hill website. 

Bridging America’s Gap Launches a Proven Skills Gap Solution

Bridging America’s Gap (BAG) is pleased to announce the expansion of their unique and successful workforce development program. This will extend the program into additional industries beyond their original skills gap program tailored to the crane, rigging & specialized transportation industry. The first (2) two Career Skills Events for 2018 have been set. April 13, BAG will join with the Indiana chapter of SkillsUSA at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, IN and on April 24, BAG will join with the Wisconsin chapter of SkillsUSA at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI.

BAG helps industries & businesses develop long-term skills gap solutions and a future employee pipeline for entry level positions. The workforce development program created by Bridging America’s Gap, partners with industry leaders & stakeholders to address the skills gap challenge with proven solutions.

Partnering with industry leaders, BAG helps develop, implement and champion a workforce vision for the industry that aligns all the key stakeholders. In working with stakeholders such as associations, business leaders, unions, industry media and educators, BAG coordinates and directs efforts that create Career Skills Events designed specifically for each industry. BAG provides unique solutions, tailored to each industry. During Career Skills Events, interested individuals learn first-hand about potential career opportunities in numerous skills industries and better understand how and why a career path within these industries would be a good career fit for them.

Click here to read the entire article published by Bridging America’s Gap on the Cision PR Newswire website.

Infrastructure won’t be great again without an education shift

Americans are ready to rebuild our infrastructure. And a major part of making that happen is a commitment to expanding and strengthening America’s efforts to rebuild the construction workforce, which is suffering from a massive shortage. It’s one of the principles of President Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal unveiled this week. Coupled with February being Career and Technical Education Month, this is the perfect opportunity to shift our mentality about educating the next generation of American workers.

Today, the construction industry employs about 7.5 million workers, yet we need to hire a staggering 500,000 workers just to fill the current backlog of existing jobs. If we add a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into the equation, we could have more than one million jobs waiting to be filled. The demand for construction workers is high, and firms are anxiously looking to hire tomorrow’s electricians, carpenters, welders, plumbers, HVAC specialists and more.

Eau Claire company curbs teen pregnancy rates world wide

Real Care Babies, made by Realityworks right here in Eau Claire, were recently featured in National Geographic. The article, ‘Can Robotic Babies Help Prevent Teenage Pregnancies,’ looks at how the teaching tots are used in Colombia, where one in five mothers is between 15 and 19-years-old.

Ultimately, researchers said for the more than 1,400 student participants in one region of Colombia, the program reduced the teen pregnancy rate by 40 percent.

Realityworks President and CEO, Timm Boettcher, told News 18 the robotic babies aren’t meant to scare teens away from becoming parents forever, but rather educate them about the consequences of having children when they’re still kids themselves.

Click here to watch the WQOW news clip and read the entire the story by Claire Sarafin.


Trades given new focus: Schools are providing opportunities in all kinds of areas

“Our primary mission goal is to get students industry certifications that will make an impact on their employability and ability to start above entry-level positions.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last April that about one-third of high school graduates choose not to go on to college, and plenty of high schools are working with those students to help them achieve careers as they head into the world.

Brandi Petersen, spokeswoman for Westside Community Schools in Omaha, said teachers and staff at the district’s Westside High School help students become successful in whatever they want to do.

 “We pride ourselves on our trades programs — welding, architecture, engineering,” she said. “No matter what students are interested in pursuing for the rest of their lives, we’ll help them succeed in that.”

Workforce development funding essential for economy, national security

THE PRIVATE-SECTOR ship repair and shipbuilding industry contributes more than $6 billion to Virginia’s economy, providing roughly 40,000 high-paying jobs and more than $2.3 billion in annual wages. Our workers earn an average annual income of $81,531.

These numbers are significant, and they illustrate the importance of Virginia’s ship repair and shipbuilding industrial base to our economy, work force and national security.

The Virginia Ship Repair Association represents 269 companies across Virginia, all of which have a hand in building and repairing ships, either as shipyards, subcontractors, suppliers or service support. These companies represent a crucial component of the economic health of the commonwealth and the country — but they cannot continue to effectively do so without a strong, stable, prepared workforce.

Parents and educators generally understand there are many pathways to career success and economic security — most of which do not require a four-year college degree. For many individuals, work in a trade is the way to happiness, prosperity and enormous personal success. Consider: Skilled trades workers exiting an apprenticeship typically earn $5,000 to $6,000 more per year than their college-graduate counterparts, and tend to do so without accruing the burdens of student loan debt along the way.

Click here to read Bill Crow’s complete column published on The Virginian-Pilot website. 

I love the smell of manufacturing in the morning!

Solid progress and improvements in manufacturing over the last ten years should bring smiles

There is nothing better than walking through a manufacturing company that is humming with the throngs of growth. And growth is what Paranet’s Year End Manufacturing Survey is showing. In fact, there is almost a 20 percent jump in manufacturers in growth mode versus 2016.

While our members should be wearing big smiles, they are nervous. The last time there was such strong confidence was in 2007, and everyone remembers 2008. Members wonder if the things that got us in trouble then have been fixed. Are the safeguards put in place really working? Is the financial sector of our world solid and not a game of smoke and mirrors? We are not naïve enough to think that we have learned our lessons; after all, this was 10 years ago. Memories are short. However, the solid progress and improvements in manufacturing should bring smiles.

Manufacturers have embraced quite a bit of change over the past several years. No company can grow and thrive without change. In the past 10 years, we have seen many buyouts and acquisitions. Some went well and some not so well. Usually when both sides of the table are somewhat unhappy, it means that the deal is probably fair. But the deal is just the beginning of the transaction. Many manufacturing companies have struggled with the effect on culture when a buyout/acquisition happens. In talking with manufacturers involved, it seems no one is ever prepared for the reality of this transaction.

Click here to read Linda Kiedrowki’s complete article published on the Biz Times Milwaukee Business News website. 


The men in hardhats compacting fake stone, pouring concrete and handling other jobmfah-constructions on the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston work site typically are paired up based on experience levels. Thus, a 20-year construction veteran often finds himself working alongside someone with just weeks under his belt.

It’s a vivid illustration of what industry leaders say is an ongoing struggle in a city forecasting more commercial and residential building projects this year even as a recovering energy business beckons skilled workers with higher pay. There may be enough skilled construction workers to meet demand this year, but that could change dramatically by early 2019.

As the baby boomers continue to approach retirement and immigration crackdowns continue, firms that procrastinated in building up the next generation to replace them face a 20-year skill gap in their workforce. Meanwhile, an improving economy, corporate tax cuts and Hurricane Harvey reconstruction efforts are putting more jobs on their schedules.

Click here to read the complete publication on the Marek Bros website.

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