Where Manufacturing Matters

Closing the Skills Gap by Rolling Up Sleeves and Getting to Work

Posted by Michael Hoag on May 23, 2018 8:18:10 AM

Through ongoing outreach and recent surveys, WIRE-Net’s ears are tuned to the NOMACconstant and growing mantras of the manufacturing talent and skills gap dilemma.  Our survey released this spring reinforced this with 90% of respondents indicating that finding and developing talent is a concern and barrier to future growth.

Our work with companies to relaunch apprenticeships attacks this issue with a clear sense of purpose and focus.  Define what you need critical staff to know and do (i.e. knowledge and competencies) and provide a clear path for them to build themselves up by combining education and training through modernized earn and learn apprenticeships.  Developing apprenticeship pathways rooted more in competencies and less in hours logged are keys to success. 

One example of this type of partnership is playing out with Tremco, an RPM International Inc. affiliate who specializes in the manufacture of roofing materials and other types of waterproofing systems.

Our partners at Greater Cleveland Partnership contacted us and asked if we could help them with gaps in their industrial maintenance capacity.  We met with plant leaders and department heads to outline the apprenticeship consortium model offering them a plug and play solution to building their pipeline.  Tremco went to work posting the opportunity internally and recruiting an existing technician to enroll in the program.  Through WIRE-Net’s state sponsored apprenticeship consortium, the Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Apprenticeship Consortium (NOMAC), we could register their candidate (Jordan) as an apprentice, enrolled him in our approved courses with Tri-C—and he was off and running within three months of our initial discussion. 

As of this post, Jordan has completed 14 credit hours at Tri-C focused on industrial electricity and wiring plus close to 1,000 hours of practical on-the -job training as a maintenance mechanic. 

“Jordan is well on his way and making significant strides in expanding his skills and competencies on the shop floor,” states David Diaz-Rivera, Maintenance Engineer at Tremco who oversees Jordan’s training. “We are already searching for our next candidate to launch in Fall, 2018.”

Through a partnership with Tri-C, which provides state apprenticeship program funding to companies participating in WIRE-Net’s apprenticeship programs, we could defray 100% of the tuition costs for Jordan during the first year of the program, saving the company close to $1,500. 

“This is a helpful incentive for companies to get started,” according to Michael Hoag, WIRE-Net Vice President of Workforce Development and WIRE-Net Apprenticeship Coordinator. “There is solid evidence that positively supports the return on investment for companies who offer apprenticeships and invest in their talent pipelines. We are excited that the State has doubled down on these investments and have pledged additional resources for new apprenticeship programs to start in 2018. Companies signing up with NOMAC and enrolling new apprentices are now eligible for up to $2,500 towards coursework tied to their program. We are excited to work with more companies, like Tremco, to develop similar apprenticeship programs.”

Visit our website to learn more about NOMAC apprenticeship programs or contact Michael Hoag, WIRE-Net Vice President of Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Coordinator at (216) 920-1958 mhoag@wire-net.org.



For 30 years WIRE-Net has been a leading force to strengthen manufacturing in Greater Cleveland. We provide leading edge expertise and resources that proactively assist manufacturers in understanding and adapting to fast changing trends technology, talent, and organizational leadership. WIRE-Net connects leaders to each other and engages them in their communities. We lead, we connect, we partner.



Topics: Apprenticeships, Apprenticeship Consortium, Tremco

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