As a lot of our domestic innovations are focused on technology and how it can improve, classic skill-based jobs such as manufacturing are seeing a shortage of qualified employees. Companies are being forced to outsource their manufacturing positions. There are simply not enough qualified applicants in the United States. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is a skill set that manufacturing workers must have in order to qualify for the job.

The STEM skills gap is becoming a major issue in the US. More tech and manufacturing companies are focusing on outsourcing their work to robotics rather than obtaining jobs in these fields. The concern grows for the state of millions of manufacturing jobs going unfilled. Some of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies are working to combat the issues surrounding STEM skills right now.

Click here to read the rest of Julia Sachs’ article on Grit Daily website. 

Suburban educators say vocational programs need community support

Destigmatizing careers that don’t require a college degree is key to bridging a growing nationwide skills gap, say some lawmakers, educators and business leaders.

“All work has dignity,” U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said Monday after visiting South Elgin High School’s automotive, precision manufacturing and early childhood programs. “We cannot stigmatize any career … any pathway into the middle class.”

Krishnamoorthi, State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith and roughly 50 regional education and business leaders toured Elgin Area School District U-46’s career and technical education programs at Elgin and South Elgin high schools.

With 40 students enrolled in South Elgin’s precision manufacturing program, there is room for more students to join from throughout the district, instructor Russ Bartz said.

“We need more people to understand that it’s a good career path and it’s not a dirty job,” he said, adding manufacturing jobs are more high-tech than most people realize.

Click here to read Madhu Krishnamurthy’s complete article published on the Daily Herald website. 

Connect with the Chamber: Investing in talent, investing in our community

Talent. It’s the most valuable resource any community, company, economic developer or site selector can have. And with unemployment rates at historic lows and growing concerns about a widening skills gap, the need to develop a talent pipeline is on the top of everyone’s mind.

At the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, we’re working with education, nonprofit and business leaders to equip our workforce with the necessary skills to meet the needs of our current and future employers.

That’s why we partnered with Collier County Public Schools to secure a more than $3 million workforce training grant from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. Local manufacturers have long lamented their need for additional workers, and this grant will allow Immokalee Technical College (iTech) to expand its machining program at a centralized location and create a manufacturing apprentice program. We expect the facility to be operational in March of 2019.

Click here to read Kristi Bartlett’s complete article published on the Naples Daily News website. 

Bridging NE Ohio’s costly job-skills gap: Pathways to Prosperity

A high school diploma wasn’t helping D’Angelo Cook live the life he wanted for himself and his two children.

Unemployed and job hunting, Cook, 26, lacked the training to land anything but low-wage jobs. Working long hours for little money, while also attending an IT training program, was a real struggle.

Ken Taylor also faces a frustration. As president of Ohio’s main dealer of Caterpillar construction equipment, he can’t find enough people with the skills and 5 to 7 years’ experience to repair machinery for customers — even when offering $60,000 to $70,000 a year salary.

“If we don’t have the technicians, we are unable to provide adequate support to the customer for the machines or the engines that they purchased from us,” said Taylor, who heads Ohio CAT. “And if we can’t provide the support, that means that the customer will suffer downtime, which is costly to their business and their customers. It translates back to us because that is revenue that we are not earning.”

The entire region’s economy faces a mismatch, or “skills gap,” between what many job seekers know and what companies need. It’s also a prosperity gap. It traps potential workers in poverty and prevents the region’s economy from moving forward. And it’s about to get worse as members of the Baby Boomer generation retire.

Click here to read Patrick O’Donnell and Oliver Perkins complete article published on the website.

Career Technical Education: A future with promise

Career & Technical Education in Idaho is not your grandfather’s shop class. It is high-skill, in-demand training that leads to high wages and satisfying careers that run the gamut from nursing and health care, business and accounting, hospitality, computer networking, robotics and high tech, agriculture and food processing, and to a wide range of skilled trades in construction and advanced manufacturing.


CTE programs resonate with students because the skills are obtained through applied learning. Every student has asked themselves two basic questions: “Why do I need to know this?” and “When am I going to use it?” The answers are simple: CTE instructors apply various subjects to real-world situations, enhancing students’ abilities to understand and retain information from science, math and English to technical training.

A student’s applied learning skills are put to use the first day on the job.

Our national leaders are helping with overwhelming bipartisan support for CTE even in these times of frequent partisan debate. Late last month, President Donald Trump signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (generally known as “Perkins V”) after Congress passed it on a unanimous voice vote in both the Senate and House. Federal funding helps make CTE programs available to students. The act also gives Idaho and other states more authority and autonomy to set performance goals for our state and increases what we can spend to address needs in rural communities.

Summit Plots Workforce Strategies

Business leaders and educators from the Twin Counties and beyond converged on the campus of Edgecombe Community College on Thursday to discuss how the two groups can work together for the betterment of the community.

John Chaffee, president and CEO of the NCEast Alliance, the lead economic development organization serving Eastern North Carolina, was the keynote speaker at the Twin Counties Education and Business Leaders’ Summit. The summit was organized by the Strategic Twin Counties Education Partnership, or S.T.E.P.

Chaffee urged educators and businesses to work hand-in-hand to solve the critical issues affecting the local economy and workforce development.

“With the announcement of new jobs in the Twin Counties, a wave of excitement has been created. However, there is also a sense of urgency with educators and industry to prepare the needed workforce,” Chaffee said. “Our region already suffers from a skills gap, not unlike others around the state and country. While there is a chronically high rate of unemployment, many jobs still go unfilled.”

Click here to read Amelia Harper’s complete article published on the Rocky Mount Telegram website. 

Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition Brief

The Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition is a Washington-based business coalition focused on job training and workforce development. Members include employers and employer associations from a broad range of industries experiencing skills mismatches and worker shortages – IT, manufacturing, construction and hospitality, among others.

Opportunity America prepared a short summary of what the new CTE law, The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, will mean for employers.  The brief outlines the provisions of the act that are most important to business and industry and suggests some ways for employers to take advantage of the opportunities it offers.

Click here to read Opportunity America’s complete briefing: Perkins for employers 2018

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