Improving the Workforce with the Power of Three

Posted By: Duane Hebert on May 16, 2017

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This week, we were fortunate that the 2017 Industry Week Manufacturing & Technology Conference took place right in our hometown of Cleveland.

And, I got to share the podium with Craig McAtee, Executive Director, National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers to deliver a presentation called, “Creating, Managing and Maintaining a High Performing Workforce by Partnering with the ‘Power of 3.’”

This was a topic that seemed to resonate with attendees as the skills gap was top-of-mind.

From our discussions on the floor, it was clear that manufacturers are overwhelmed. Everyone agrees that it’s critical to develop employees with the knowledge and skills needed for jobs in the 21st century of advanced manufacturing. But how?

It comes down to answering three key questions:

1. What training is needed?

2. How impactful is it? (i.e., How do you measure ROI?)

3. How will we pay for it? (i.e., dollars/resources)

As we discussed in our presentation, there is not a one-step solution. Fortunately, companies do not need to go it alone.

Success comes from building a solid partnership among industry, education, and government. This ‘Power of 3’ can help to build additional capacity and expertise, while continuously improving the workforce.

With this approach, the strategy for creating high performers becomes more about building communities that help develop talent and resources than about one company trying to build a workforce from ground zero.

Work-based learning is a perfect illustration. Think of apprenticeships.

Based on Department of Labor guidelines, manufacturers are creating competency-based “earn as you learn” programs that build the workforce while providing employees with clear career pathways.

Manufacturers can share their competency-based frameworks with local educators, such as a community college or high school CTE program, so the schools know what companies expect from new hires – and can build corresponding curriculum. Online learning is another way to offer flexible and measurable training.

Where possible, students can earn industry-driven national certifications such as NIMS, MSSC, SME, etc. These standards offer an advantage for everyone in the industry as they help ensure that the talent pool shares common knowledge and skills at different levels of development.

And, when it comes to paying for all of it, people are thrilled to learn that funding is often available through state and national grants. In fact, many funding streams work in partnership with community colleges.

There are opportunities all around to reach out and leverage the possibilities available through industry partnerships. We encourage you to start searching for opportunities in your area.

We’d be happy to help you create a strategy that aligns with your company goals.

Tags: "Craig McAtee", "IndustryWeek Manufacturing & Technology Conference", manufacturing, "National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers", "Tooling U-SME", training, "workforce development"