Let’s Make Our Workforce and Their Instructors Our Priority

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on May 09, 2019

Let’s Make Our Workforce and Their Instructors Our Priority

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week in the U.S., and at Tooling U-SME we recognize the men and women who’ve dedicated their careers to prepare and mentor our incumbent and next-generation manufacturing workforce. Their commitment is invaluable. They work diligently to equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need to learn and stay current with the latest technology and processes.

Teachers play one of the most critical roles in the development of our workforce. Often, they are the first connection for students who are still deciding what occupation they’ll pursue after high school and college.

But, just as the manufacturing industry struggles with a workforce skills gap, the education system also deals with a shortage of qualified teachers with the prerequisite experience needed and interest in the industrial sector.

Baby boomer retirements, lack of prerequisite technical experience and higher industry wages contribute to the shortage of manufacturing or career technical education instructors. And while these are key issues responsible for the small pool of available teachers, experts around the country are exploring short-term and long-term strategies to bridge the shortage, including:

  • Alternative certifications to bring industry experts into schools as full-time teachers
  • Video conferencing into rural areas
  • Leveraging local employer relationships to connect industry experts with schools
  • Allowing experts to work in their field and teach part-time or co-teach with a fully certified teacher of record

Educators are the secret ingredient to producing a pipeline of highly skilled employees that drive competitiveness, productivity, quality, innovation and profitability for manufacturers. We — industry, government, and academia — must work together to identify and implement solutions to find, hire and retain great teachers, just as we do for the workforce. Tooling U-SME will continue to work with, help develop and support teachers to equip the next-generation workforce with the skills they need to succeed.

If you’re planning to retire soon, or want to change careers and give back, consider teaching within a manufacturing-related program at your local high school, career technical school or community college. As an instructor, you’ll see firsthand the impact of your coaching and how it can improve the lives of people in your local community.

Tags: instructors, "National Teacher Appreciation Week", "teacher shortage", "Tooling U-SME", workforce