New training models lower cost and fill gaps in manufacturing

SR Benefits tablet screen and pie chartInterest and investment continues to grow for the Joplin Region (MO/KS/OK).  Like many vibrant economic regions nationwide, Joplin faces shortages of qualified job candidates to meet demand.  Employers, educators, workforce specialists, and economic developers are joining forces to fill gaps in the pools of entry-level job candidates.  Short-term strategies emphasize real-time, on-demand training and user-friendly credentialing solutions as part of the new SectorReady framework.

Surveys and market studies conducted by the Workforce Innovation Board show urgent needs of the region’s labor market:

  • More than half of employers predict growth, but express major concerns with lack of job candidates (volume) or skills (quality)
  • Nearly ¾ of employers anticipate reduced capacity to serve customers due to skill shortages
  • Half of employers report increases in turnover
  • Nearly half of employers concerned with low employee engagement and morale
  • Specific concerns of a third of employers include lack of experience, technical competencies, and industry-specific qualifications or certifications
  • Unemployment or under-employment still remains in categories such as youth, ex-offenders, welfare recipients, and the disabled

SectorReady™ planners with the WIB and Joplin Regional Partnership drafted a prospectus to launch a Principles Training series to help meet the needs of regional employers.

Solution Requirements for Training and Credentialing

  • Training completed in 5-10 days or less with flexibility of scheduling
  • Unemployed individuals on short periods of public assistance
    • Underemployed individuals needing to complete training while not at work
  • Zero or low cost to participate in training
    • Accessible to individuals in poverty
    • Accessible to individuals not otherwise eligible for public assistance
    • Primary overhead cost limited to testing/credentialing
  • High volume to make significant impact on job candidate pool
  • Credential to validate skill mastery
    • Wide acceptance by employers
    • National portability
    • Option to convert to college credit as evidence of prior learning

Unique Features

  • Employers volunteer to present workshops
  • Direct connection for most up-to-date sector content and examples
  • Ability of volunteer presenters to scout workshop attendees for recruitment based on attendees’ soft skills and engagement levels
  • Participants earn Silver or higher NCRC prior to entry
  • Connect workshop offerings to targeted participant locations
    • Advanced Training/Technology Center (slated to open early 2017)
    • Job Center Locations (SW MO, SE KS, NE OK)
    • Community Partnerships (homeless  shelters, probation/parole, substance abuse recovery, etc.)

Potential Content Targets and Outcomes

  • Safety
  • Industrial Math Applications
  • Basic Communication Skills in Production (and other basic soft skills in demand)
  • Quality Measurement Tools
  • Locating/Document Information (such as Blueprint Reading)
  • Manufacturing Operations

Product/Service Delivery Strengths

  • All training functions available add value and are necessary in specific settings
  • Principles workshops facilitate skill building for entry level employment, but also interface with other training as stackable credentials

Market Potential

  • Under-employed individuals currently seeking advancement
  • Individuals in Poverty
  • Individuals Receiving Public Assistance (TANF, Food Stamps, etc.)
  • Projections of Newly-Released Ex-Offenders
  • Projections of Youth Unemployment
  • Projections of Disabled Individuals Seeking (Re)Employment
  • Growth projections of entry-level production/manufacturing jobs

Next Steps

  • Recruit Employer Champions for Pilots
    • Present concept to focus groups of targeted employers
    • Design curriculum content and delivery
    • Deliver presentations at training events
  • Evaluate and select ideal credentialing framework
  • Alignment with new ACT manufacturing pilot (mid-late 2016)
  • Connect to initiatives that raise awareness of sector opportunities and benefits
  • Family of certifications under National Association of Manufacturers
    • Manufacturing Technician 1 from the Manufacturing Skills Institute
  • Other options
    • ProveIt™
    • OSHA-10
    • NCCER
  • Connect all training, credential, and barrier-removal resources to interactive career pathway system under SectorReady™

Ready to shift your training into high gear?  Get connected as a participating employer with SectorReadyto help build the skills needed to keep local manufacturing strong.  Contact Frank Neely for more information.