As our country struggles with high unemployment it’s hard to believe that many of our nation’s employers are actually having trouble finding the right people for the right jobs. This is especially true in the manufacturing sector, where 80% of employers report moderate to serious shortages in skilled talent.
[DARLENE MILLER, PRESIDENT/CEO, PERMAC INDUSTRIES:]
It’s really frustrating and continues to be a real issue for manufacturers like myself where we hear the unemployment numbers but yet we cannot find people skilled to come to work for our companies. We are constantly interviewing and finding that the people we bring in do not have the math skills that are required to operate our equipment. We can buy all of the equipment we need but we cannot find the skilled labor we need to advance our companies.
Growing talent to drive innovation and increasing productivity is critical to competing in our ever-evolving global economy. We need a fast-track talent innovation to ensure that manufacturers have the right people with the right skills in the right jobs — right now. In short, we need the Right Skills Now for Manufacturing.
[ERICK AJAX, VP, EJ AJAX & SONS:]
Three decades ago it was possible for someone without a high-school diploma to come into the manufacturing sector and have a pretty good career. Today that’s simply not possible.
President Obama highlighted manufacturers’ goal to credential 500,000 workers with skills certifications aligned with manufacturers’ hiring needs. In response to this goal, The Manufacturing Institute, ACT, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, and the President’s Job Council have created the Right Skills Now for Manufacturing — a rapid ready training program delivered through our community and technical colleges.
Building on the success of the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, the Right Skills Now initiative offers an accelerated approach to both job seeker and employer — getting highly skilled, certified work-ready talent to the shop floor even faster. These stackable skills credentials and their accompanying modular curriculum focus specifically on high-demand machining skills where the need is immediate — often reflected in ‘weeks’ rather than ‘months.’ ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate provides the ‘work-ready’ foundation of the stack while the NIMS machining and metalworking credentials certify critical, in-demand manufacturing skills.
The result is a concise and comprehensive for-credit educational pathway to credentials that have immediate value in the workplace. Manufacturers gain accelerated access to skilled talent as well as an efficient and sustainable system for evaluating which candidates have the Right Skills Now. While students earn industry-recognized credentials and credit toward a degree — all while working. Those who are unemployed or under-employed can prove they have the Right Skills Now in a competitive job market.
Skill credentials are a win, win, win! In other words it’s good for the employee, it’s good for the customer, it’s good for our company, and — best of all — it’s good for the economy.
Today, this program is being piloted by community colleges and employers in the Minneapolis area for eventual nationwide rollout to manufacturers small and large. And though this initial model focuses on high-demand machining skills, the modular nature of the curriculum and stackable credentials easily accommodates build-outs in other areas of advanced manufacturing such as production or welding, and in every sector in the manufacturing economy from aerospace to food processing
This pilot program is really going to align the skills that are needed at companies like mine with what is being taught in the schools today. To fill those positions that are currently open and to help us grow our businesses. I think it’s a whole new mindset and I’m really excited about being able to create a change in the history of manufacturing.
The world around us is changing. And so are the skills needed to succeed on the job and in the 21st century economy. To stay competitive and to prosper, we need the Right Skills Now.
To get involved, go to RightSkillsNow.org.