How Are Manufacturers Addressing the Skills Gap?

Manufacturing is in the middle of a new industrial revolution that requires skilled laborers. However, by most reports, many manufacturers lack enough of these well-trained employees, creating a worker shortage due to the skills gap—the difference between the skills manufacturers need and the skills job applicants have.

Companies are responding to the skills gap in numerous ways, seeking novel approaches to bridge the divide between the knowledge the workforce has and the knowledge they need.

Technology automates formerly routine processes, decreasing the need for workers who once did these jobs. Although manufacturers no longer need as large a workforce, they still need to find skilled laborers, ones who understand how to program and run a CNC or industrial robot. Although some work has been done toward addressing the skills gap, two out of every three companies don’t have a plan for remedying the problem.

Technology skills are only one facet of the skills gap—the lack of employment skills and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills also play parts in the shortage of available workers. To address the labor shortage, companies must focus on all three of these areas. This creates an opportunity for companies to devise multiple ways of correcting the problem. Because each company has specific needs depending on the technology used and the region, the means of closing the gap will differ. Here are five approaches that can help close the skills gap.

Click here to read about the five approaches written by Megan Ray Nichols and published on the QualityDigest website.

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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