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.

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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