Vocational training

Front Line: Alliances for Skills Training in Difficult Times

As if manufacturers weren’t challenged enough by COVID-19, many are facing shortages of skilled workers to keep their state-of-the-art factories competitive.

A 2018 report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Instituteestimated that the manufacturing industry would have up to 2.4 million jobs to fill by 2028. Last year, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) published a report in the 3rd quarter of 2019 that the primary concern of manufacturers was the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce.

Stephen Gold, President/CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), recently wrote in IndustryWeek that the skills gap today is not so much about the lack of STEM majors, but companies are giving up on investing in training and four decades of stigmatizing vocational education. Yet some communities and companies are trying to solve this problem by working together to create vocational training programs to attract more students to advanced manufacturing.

One example is Tri-County Technical College in Pendleton, SC Grayson Kelly, vice president of institutional advancement and business relations at the college, says his program is unique because it co-locates business and industry with the K-12 education through the Hamilton Career and Technology Center in Westminster, SC, and post-secondary education through the Tri-County Technical College.

“High school students have the opportunity to get a head start on their college education by taking dual credit courses,” he explains. “By the time they graduate from high school, they will have earned a Tri-County certificate and will be well on their way to earning their associate’s degree.”

These same students can also participate in work-based learning at nearby companies, which can lead to rewarding careers that pay family-supporting salaries. “For companies, this is an opportunity to create a crucial recruiting pipeline, reduce turnover and help influence, mold and mold potential future employees,” Kelly adds.


Skills training is becoming more important than ever to provide an agile, skilled talent pool that enables companies to attract and retain a workforce that meets their unique needs.
Elli Bowen, Vice President of Business Development, KC SmartPort
Kansas City has also implemented efforts to meet the growing needs of workers in technical and logistical positions.

“Skills training is becoming more important than ever to provide an agile, skilled talent pool that enables companies to attract and retain a workforce that meets their unique needs,” said Elli Bowen, vice president of business development at KC SmartPort.

Examples include KC Tech Academy, an industry-led, two-year skills-based training program currently offered to high school juniors and seniors in select Kansas City-area school districts, and the Skilled KC Technical Institute, which focuses on careers in high demand. but in short supply in the Kansas City area. Skilled KC’s first three programs (Advanced Manufacturing, Software Development, and Biotechnology Lab Technician) launched on September 8, 2020.

Columbus, Ohio, offers yet another example of a robust program. Jeff Spain, Director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Columbus State Community College (CSCC), explains that CSCC “ties the existing program to the workforce needs of the company and tries to generate a talent pool that can respond to the innovative changes we see developing in the manufacturing sector. every year.”

One of the programs that has flourished during COVID is CSCC’s Modern Manufacturing Work Study (MMWS). . CCSC has awarded more than 50,000 degrees and has an annual impact of nearly $1 billion on the local economy.