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workforce By investing in education and training, we are actually investing in ourselves


Creating a Sustainable Culture of Skilled Workers


T


he lack of skilled workers makes it diffi cult for manu- facturers to fi ll vacancies created by an aging work- force and advancing technologies. And, according to


industry experts, this problem will only get worse. The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte study, “The Skills Gap in US Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond,” found that over the next decade nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be fi lled. But a skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs left vacant. Because of this gap, the average U.S. manufacturer is potentially losing 11% of its annual earnings, according to the study. The depletion in the workforce, according to the study, is linked to the lack of STEM education in high schools and community colleges. Moreover, apprenticeships that combine on-the-job learning with mentorships and class- room education fell 40% between 2003 and 2013. This situation is compounded because young people are turned off by manufacturing, perceiving it to be a low-tech and low- paying industry.


Coldwater Machine Co. (Coldwater, OH) has addressed these factors with successful programs designed to offer a real-world glimpse into modern manufacturing and build our bench of talent. We have a long-standing four-year-long apprenticeship program that includes 8000 hours of on-the- job training in a full-time role with the company. Apprentices work with project leaders and skilled CNC machinists, learn- ing trades through different manufacturing functions, while receiving full benefi t packages and a paid education. We also have an internship program. Interns are provided work experience through on-the-job training to supplement their academic pursuits. They are mentored by an engineer and receive work experience, therefore gaining a manufactur- ing perspective through a diverse scope of work. As a growing company, Coldwater believes there is added value by fi lling our technical positions by promoting from within. To make this possible, we offer regular ongoing employee training and academic assistance for those want-


Alicia Jutte


Human Resource Manager


Coldwater Machine Co.


ing to further their education. At any given time, 10% of the workforce is in some type of training. We are also tackling the lack of STEM and technical education in public schools. We work with the local high schools, vocational schools and colleges by supporting training in skilled trades and engineering fi elds through monetary and equipment donations. For example, the company offers a scholarship for engi- neering majors, which is administered through the Western Ohio Educational Foundation at Wright University’s Lake Campus. We also work with the Auglaize/Mercer Business- Education Alliance to facilitate and develop programs that encourage the skills to meet the needs of area businesses. Industry associations put notable effort into manufacturing education, but this must be supported by other stakeholders. Our experience has taught us that it is critical for business, educators and government to work together to attract and educate the next generation of much needed skilled workers. These efforts are critical to engage our young and dispel inaccurate manufacturing myths. By middle school, as part of STEM education, schools should present students a realistic picture of the manufacturing environment as one that includes application of advanced and innovative technolo- gies including 3D printing, robotics, and advanced analytics. Additionally, upcoming generations need to understand the opportunity available in this fi eld. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, an average manufacturing worker in the US earned $77,506 in 2013, 20% more than what an average worker earned in other industries. Over the last several years, nearly $1 billion in grants have gone to community colleges to support the creation or ex- pansion of manufacturing education programs. Another $100 million is now available to establish apprenticeship programs. Our own experiences attest to the value of such investments. By investing in education and training, we are actually investing in ourselves by creating a sustainable approach to a skilled workforce, which elevates our manufacturing compe- tency and competitiveness.


77 — Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing 2016


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