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Thinking Outside the Proverbial Box about Skilled Workers

skilled workers

The manufacturing industry continues to deal with its fair share of the growing pains occurring with the re-imagining of the industry. Of these, one issue remains hard to ignore. This is the continuing question of how to find and retain skilled labor within the industry. The deficit continues for a number of reasons including a lack of skilled workers, fewer students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes, and continuing misconceptions of what jobs in the manufacturing industry “look” like. In each of these areas, a picture of manufacturing from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s continues to cloud perceptions of anyone not directly involved with the industry. This viewpoint also can include negative connotations and associations of what the industry used to be instead of what it is evolving to be.

Determining a New Track

In order to correct these assumptions, manufacturers, educators, business groups and government agencies are working to re-frame the industry for a new generation based on what manufacturing means today. These include dedicated days when students can visit plants to learn about the newest manufacturing applications such as 3-D printing or additive manufacturing. This is also a time to learn about new manufacturing positions requiring technical know-how in the form of computer technology along with traditional mechanical skills. These opportunities offer students reasons to pursue a manufacturing career path through a number of options including vocational schools, on-the-job training and apprenticeship and advanced college and university education.

Expanding Efforts within the Manufacturing Community

A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch profiled how manufacturers in central Ohio are approaching the skilled labor shortage from a new vantage point. OH!Manufacturing, an affiliate of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, is working with small- and medium-sized central Ohio manufacturers to address challenges of growth and profitability. Operated by PolymerOhio, an Ohio Edison Technology Center dedicated to enhancing the growth and competitiveness of Ohio manufacturing, Oh!Manufacturing is partnering with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections to develop a program connecting non-violent offenders with employers looking for specific skills. The Training, Assessment and Placement Project (TAPP) will offer employment following release. OH!Manufacturing is also looking to grow the recruitment of women and veterans.

The Role of Current Manufacturers

No matter if it is flexibility in a design element or an open attitude to outside creative involvement, the manufacturing industry continues to grow and evolve. This attitude is critical for the manufacturers working at Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. Years of experience and an ever-growing number of successful deburring solutions prove design and concept flexibility and a openness to outside inspiration remain an important part of CDMC’s success in creating solutions for our customers for custom applications, fluid power, powdered metals, power transmission, aerospace and defense, sprockets and gears.

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