Editor's Comments: I read a lot of articles on the skills gap in technology, manufacturing, construction and hospitality but few are as enlightening and affirming as this one! Schweitzer Engineering is doing what is right for their organization. They are closing their skills gap and creating a culture where employees have an opportunity to excel, up-skill, re-skill and retrain to become even more valuable to the company. The fact that they look beyond age and disabilities to see the true potential of the person is a credit to the leadership. Thanks for doing it right!
The skills gap bedevilling U.S. manufacturers has given rise to hundreds of programs to train workers. And most of these efforts, though varied in other ways, share one important trait: the schooling that occurs happens offsite, not at the factories for which workers are being trained. It could be at a community college, regional or local “workforce development” agency, or other independent organization.
The aim is to develop and sharpen skills of a potential assembly worker, or higher skilled manufacturing player, and then plug them in to an ongoing company operation with as little ramp-up time as possible.
Many employers prefer this model. Given the narrowing of the mission at many companies – to a core competency of a relative handful of tasks, letting others handle less-central requirements of the workplace – it makes sense to them. The very nature of training and integration of new workers – some drop out, some don’t make the cut, even the best can slow down the operation with questions and adjustments – seems antithetical to some operations designed to run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at flat-out 100% of capacity, with minimal layers of management. Read the entire article.