Harper working to tackle the skills gap

The “skills gap” has become a popular buzzword, and for good reason. In 2016, nearly half of U.S. employers reported that they faced difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent. Both nursing and manufacturing in particular face a critical shortage of skilled workers, a trend driven largely by the aging baby boomer generation.

Just look at the stats:

  • By 2024, there will be more than 1 million job openings in the U.S. for nurses.
  • Over the next decade, 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled nationwide.
  • And in Illinois, middle-skill jobs overall (requiring education beyond high school but not a four-year degree) account for 53 percent of the state’s labor market, but only 42 percent of the state’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level, according to the National Skills Coalition.

 

Click here to read the entire article published on the Harper College website. 

Manufacturing today offers a new world of opportunity

It’s National Manufacturing Month, and that makes October a great opportunity to take a fresh look at the industry’s role in our nation, our state and right here in Hopkins County. Its opportunities are real and growing, and they might be a good bit different than you imagine when you think about the industry.

 

For example, modern manufacturing is evolving into a more diverse sector, as much about creating things as producing them. The old perceptions of grimy plants, tedious manual tasks and dangerous machines are giving way as advanced technologies such as 3D printing, computer-aided design and robotics play a larger and larger role in bringing about our products.

 

“New jobs in modern manufacturing extend beyond shop floors and laboratories into offices, state-of-the-art tech centers and even your living room,” write the National Association of Manufacturers and Manufacturing Institute at their recruitment website, CreatorsWanted.org. “Everything that is made needs smart thinkers and doers to invent, market, distribute and maintain revolutionary products.”

Click here to read Ray Hagerman’s complete article published on The Messenger website.

Workplace Learning Is Central To Closing Skills Gap

Workplace learning that bridges the gap between employee skills and company needs is critical to every firm. Knowing what talents workers bring to the table currently and predicting which skills a company will need to succeed in the future is tricky. Experts say focus on reducing the impact of automation. How? Help workers develop soft skills such as communication, adaptability and critical thinking.

Key to closing the skills gap is creating a culture of workplace learning, says Kelly Palmer, co-author with David Blake of “The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete, and Succeed.”

“The skills gap is a very real thing, and if (leaders) are not encouraging employees to learn, it might not happen,” Palmer told IBD. “Simply sending employees to class alone is not working.”

Click here to read Adelia Cellini Linecker’s compete article published on Investor’s Business Daily.

How transformative tech can address the skills gap within construction

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, with new devices and products being introduced on a daily basis to help enhance the workplace. It could be argued that the construction industry has been slow in bringing this in, and is yet to undergo a major transformation.

Firms now find themselves in a difficult position as they compete to an international completion, and having to deal with more complex projects and concepts. The threat of skill gap has also meant many companies lag behind compared to any other industry. This leads to many projects having a number of complications and delays which can be avoidable in this day and age.

Alongside this, the industry also suffers from an ageing workforce which may not be used to modern technological advances, resulting in a major skills gap amongst many companies in the industry. Thus, there is the incentive to retrain workers to be able to operate new technology and attract young people who are technological natives into the industry.

The industry needs to embrace transformative technologies in order to cater for the changing sector and to address the skills gap. This transformative technology includes hardware and software that are designed to bring about positive and more reliable changes for the benefit of workers.

Click here to read Tevor Horsley’s complete article published on the Construction Global website. 

Apprenticeships rebuild excitement for manufacturing careers, close skills gap: Pathways to Prosperity

A shortage of skilled workers in Northeast Ohio may have just as much to do with an image problem for manufacturing as a lack of training for potential employees.

The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, or MAGNET, is attempting to tackle both issues through its two-year apprenticeship program for high school students. Students in the Early College Early Career, or ECEC, program take tuition-free classes toward an advanced manufacturing and technology degree at area community colleges to learn the skills employers are demanding.

Through paid internships at local companies, the students see first-hand that many of the old stereotypes about manufacturing aren’t true.

Autumn Russell, ECEC’s executive director, said the program challenges longstanding notions that students either head to college after high school or into the workforce. Perhaps they’ll do both.

“We really want to create this paradigmatic shift in thinking, in redefining what success looks like for students,” she said. “Right now in our education system, all programs, all strategies, all initiatives are college prep.”

Click here to read Olivera Perkins’ complete article published on the Cleveland.com website.

Software company hopes to address local skills gap

With the goal of solving the local skills gap, a new company has stepped forward with a solution for St. Joseph.

Valor Education Group is working with local employers to meet their workforce training needs. There are currently about 1,000 job openings in the maintenance and manufacturing industry locally. It’s a topic that hasn’t gone unnoticed. State and federal funding has become available for employers’ training needs, and companies like Valor are stepping forward to help.

“The sheer numbers alone just has forced us on how are we going to solve this issue,” said Lute Atieh with Valor Education Group. “It’s not just an issue of jobs, it’s an issue of our community and making our community more attractive for people to live because there are jobs.”

Click here to read Jennifer Hall’s complete article published on the News-Press Now.com website. 

We Still Need Career And Technical Education – Even With 3.7% Unemployment

The American economy added 134,000 jobs in September, according to the US Department of Commerce.   The unemployment rate sits at 3.7% – the lowest since 1969.  On the other hand, earlier this week Verizon announced 44,000 layoffs to its global workforce, including a significant portion in the United States, and the outsourcing of 2,500-5,000 jobs to external contractors.

This is the American story in 2018.  Rapid growth and incredible bull markets juxtaposed with deep-seated fear among the middle and working classes about job security, wage growth, and our economic future.

In this election year, there has been some discussion about income inequality and economic opportunity – but not nearly enough.   Politicians from both parties understand that creating economic opportunity for all requires a long-term strategy that is complicated and difficult to execute.  It also requires the alignment of resources, agendas and values among leaders, funders and policy makers.

Click here to read Nish Acharya’s complete article published on Forbes website. 

Career technology education sees rebirth

The idea that the only option high school students have for the future is attending a college for four years straight is beginning to become a thing of the past with more and more career technology education programs on the rise.

Students at both of Nashua’s high schools, North and South, are given the opportunity to enroll in the Career Technology Education program, which offers 19 individual fields, which includes biotechnology, culinary, cosmetology, computer-aided drafting & design and more.

Amanda Bastini, director of the Nashua Technology Center North, touched upon the success of the program.

“Ninety percent who finish CTE programs graduate from high school. What CTE is preparing kids for is either college or a career,” Bastoni said, and she explained that there has been a shift in society. “There is the idea that kids have to go to a four-year college straight after high school and, as a nation, we are realizing it is a fallacy. Lots of kids don’t finish college and still have huge debt.”

Bastoni said CTE programs recognize the need to help kids prepare for careers that may not come out of a college, such as plumbing and electrician careers.

Click here to read Grace Pecci’s compete article published on The Telegraph website. 

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