According to Ideastream, at the end of 2018 about 6.6. million Americans were unemployed and companies had almost as many job openings. In many cases, the people looking for work simply weren’t qualified for the positions that companies needed to fill. One solution to address the labor shortage and the skills gap are apprenticeship programs.
Every time I tell someone what I do for a living, the first response I usually get is, “That’s wonderful! Because, you know, college isn’t for everybody.” While I understand the sentiment, I always cringe a little for two reasons: 1. If they are parents, they usually aren’t talking about their own kids; and 2. Post-secondary education is REQUIRED for 80% of all manufacturing jobs and 100% of the apprenticeships that I run. Is it always a traditional 4-year degree? Typically not, but apprenticeships are a wonderful way to advance your career and earn a debt-free education.
Yasir Alhaimus – NOMAC Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Apprentice (U.S. Cotton)
Yasir is 29 years old. He currently resides in Cleveland with his brother and parents, but immigrated to the United States in 2015. He had an extensive education prior to immigrating including a Bachelor Degree in Technology (Computer Science) from a university in New Delhi, India. According to Yasir, when he arrived in the U.S., it was very difficult for him to obtain a job in his field. Few employers would recognize his degree and he lacked any professional experience in his field on study.
On May 10th The President’s commissioned Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion presented a detailed list of recommendations for expanding apprenticeship in the U.S. The report includes some important recommendations focused on industry-driven strategies.
Through ongoing outreach and recent surveys, WIRE-Net’s ears are tuned to the constant 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.
This week marks the third annual National Apprenticeship Week (November 13-19). We are excited to take part in this celebration with so many other companies, individuals, and educators that are making a difference through apprenticeship programs. We believe apprenticeships work for everyone—from the business owner looking to recruit highly skilled and talented workers, to the job seeker wanting to advance their career. It works because youth and job seekers can earn while they learn, and employers can develop the talent they need to compete today and tomorrow.
The annual Nuts & Bolts Bash, presented for the fifth year in a row by Spooner Incorporated, is WIRE-Net's signature fundraiser that helped kick-off Manufacturing Month and launch our giving season with generous sponsorships and donations of in-kind prizes or cash contributions invested in our mission-driven activities. We're pleased to announce that on October 5th you helped us raise over $27,000 in net revenue, which was just shy of our $30,000 goal!
WIRE-Net kicked off its second Apprenticeship Consortium this month, speaking with leaders from 3 metalworking companies (in addition to 4 others already committed to the CNC Machining Consortium). As part of WIRE-Net’s “apprenticeship accelerator” initiative we’ve developed a 21st century approach to company sponsored training to encourage wide adaptation and adoption by manufacturers.
This is a smart practice for six reasons...
By now we all know that one of the biggest workforce challenges facing Northeast Ohio manufacturers is a lack of skilled workers. WIRE-Net’s Vice President, Julie King, talked about this in her blog post, “Need Machinists and Mechanics? WIRE-Net Has a Solution,” and the solution WIRE-Net created to help manufacturing companies create less expensive, less cumbersome apprenticeship programs with a more holistic approach to skills development.
In 2015, WIRE-Net re-posted a blog by Gary Weldon from the popular MADEinOHIO.us blog. Gary's words inspired us to act to help our member companies and their employees.
"You see, an apprenticeship is more than just a training program – something able to transfer key skills to a new generation – it is a career pathway. It takes the ambiguous 'Just show up and work hard and someday you'll be successful' mindset and gives it specificity. It gives those who are willing to work hard a clear view of what's achievable and outlines the steps of how they can get there.
It also does something else. Something very powerful. It communicates that a career in manufacturing is something worth investing time and money in. It shows a young apprentice that their company is optimistic about the future and is committed to developing the people who will be essential to its success."