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Improving the Skills Gap with a Community Approach

manufacturing community

Depending on whom you ask, accountability can have positive and negative connotations. If you’re someone with a glass-half-full mentality, the act of being accountable means you’re generally looking for ways to be responsible and proactive in doing what you say you will do. Conversely, accountability can also feel negative. In this space, fingers get pointed when things go wrong. Inevitably, things will go wrong, so in the space of accountability, there’s the choice of acknowledging the mistake or pointing fingers of blame.

Over the last couple of decades, the collective WE have fallen into a blame game when it comes to education and the resulting skills gap. Those in the manufacturing industry are all too familiar with the issues presented when future generations don’t have the necessary skills to fill the jobs now or in the future. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just the manufacturing industry that’s experiencing the hard realities of the skills gap. The same issues of an under-skilled workforce also challenge the engineering and the construction industries.

Changing Norms

A number of groups continue to look for reasons why the skills gap continues to grow. One reason is the dramatic increase in the number of high school dropouts. While this element has always been an issue, it’s becoming more of a concern because the skills needed for success in the workforce continue to change dramatically as a result of the emphasis on new technologies. This might seem counter-intuitive considering the mindset that younger generations are more tech-savvy. While this could be accurate in some cases, it fails to take into consideration the lack of skills if the student attends a school without the benefit of new technologies or if the student comes from a socio-economic background where there aren’t the funds for technological devices or internet access in the home.

Growing Divide

This wrinkle of access to technology, those who have or don’t have, is a growing concern. If students don’t have access to technology and they attend a school without a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) where does that leave the student when it comes to finding a job in the future? Knowing there’s little point in placing blame, many communities are taking education of the younger generation into new directions designed to benefit the collective community. In some communities, this includes offering free technology training at the local library and offering apprenticeships designed to train on-the-job for the specific skills desired by an employer.

Small Inputs, Big Returns

On the surface, it could be easy to say these initiatives might only impact a small number of individuals but at the same time if those individuals teach others the skills they’ve learned, the impact could grow exponentially. Many Ohio manufacturers, particularly the small- to medium-sized manufacturers, understand innovation and looking for customer inputs are increasingly important for manufacturers that want to remain relevant in the new manufacturing economy.

The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company (CDMC) provides a strong example for other manufacturers in the industry. Located in northeast Ohio, CDMC is dedicated to providing deburring solutions for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. CDMC’s no-charge application evaluation includes a detailed report and process description in as little as 3 to 5 business days. Contact CDMC today for a deburring machine that’s right for you.

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