Sites: GlobalSpec.com | GlobalSpec Electronics | CR4 | Electronics360
Login | Register
The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®


Speaking of Precision

Speaking of Precision is a knowledge preservation and thought leadership blog covering the precision machining industry, its materials and services. With over 36 years of hands on experience in steelmaking, manufacturing, quality, and management, Miles Free (Milo) Director of Industry Research and Technology at PMPA helps answer "How?" "With what?" and occasionally "Really?"

Previous in Blog: Math Use On The Job - Precision Machining   Next in Blog: New OSHA Temporary Worker Rules
Close

Comments Format:






Close

Subscribe to Discussion:

CR4 allows you to "subscribe" to a discussion
so that you can be notified of new comments to
the discussion via email.

Close

Rating Vote:







5 comments

Skills CAN Fill the Skill Gap

Posted May 07, 2013 12:00 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: Skills vocational training

Lack of skills were found to be behind the skills gap for production jobs according to a new report by Twin Cities Business Magazine.

"Only in production work did lack of training seem to be a barrier for job candidates, and in about half of those cases, the training they lacked was technical training at the high school level-the sort of program that has disappeared from many schools."

PMPA's Vice President, Darlene Miller states in the article "I don't think it's coincidental that when our [high school] dropout rate increased by 30 percent was when all of our technical classes in our high schools ended." And that is when industry lost its pipeline of potential skilled workers.

Three ideas to get back on track from the article:

1) European Educational Model. "We need to get back in the European path," Miller says. "They really show students at [middle school] age, what are your potential career paths. And manufacturing and the trades are viewed just as highly as any other career."

2) Build career awareness in younger students. "It's costly to wait until people reach college age or older before introducing them to technical careers and skills. Rather than playing catch-up, employers and educators want to start the process earlier, not only with STEM education that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, and math in K-12 schools, but through more direct work with kids."

3) Overcome parental fears about "vocational track' education. Despite the fact that 54% of the unemployed have bachelor's degrees, most parents still equate a college education with job security."Parents worry about schools "tracking" their children at a young age: pushing them to choose between the path to college and the path to technical school, and closing off the road not taken."

The Twin Cities Business Article concludes with comments from Darlene Miller on the skills gap: "The economic security and upward mobility that have long been the perceived promise of a four-year college degree are less certain now, it's "skills that pay the bills."

"When we understand that 54 percent of our unemployed are college graduates, what does that tell us? It tells us that we've been training people for jobs that don't exist," she says. Just as some wonder whether the skills gap is real, Miller suggests that one of its sources-the notion that a bachelor's degree is always the right choice-is a fiction.

"Is going into debt and spending six or more years to get a four-year college degree, and then not having any assurance of finding a job to cover that investment when you're done, is that really real?"

Skills do pay the bills.

PMPA has a number of resources to help you explore a possible career in precision machining advanced manufacturing.

Career Overview

Training Database

Right Skills Now

Twin Cities Business Magazine

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which originally appeared here.

Register to Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Participant

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 3
#1

Re: Skills CAN Fill the Skill Gap

05/07/2013 1:33 AM

i do agree that skills can truly fill the skill gap. i mean their are types or kinds of work that one has tried yet. however, knowing that a person has already some work experienced and no matter even if the tasks is not related but as long the person is trainable and highly adoptable then in no time it can fill the gap.

sports pictures

Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 11079
Good Answers: 139
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Skills CAN Fill the Skill Gap

05/07/2013 7:54 AM

Sure there is risk, but there are times where you have to look at it as an investment and train them.

Why? because there are no other alternatives.

__________________
phoenix911
Register to Reply
Participant

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 3
#3

Re: Skills CAN Fill the Skill Gap

05/09/2013 12:48 AM

hmmmmmm .... well, so you mean that whatever it takes as long one can reach or achieved for it. if that's the case then so be it. cheers.

Register to Reply
Commentator

Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 96
Good Answers: 5
#4

Re: Skills CAN Fill the Skill Gap

05/20/2013 2:54 PM

Sorry, but I find this article too over-simplified to be of much value. For decades industry has cried about not being able to find enough "qualified" workers, but at the same time those same industries have NOT supported their communities. Instead they have imported cheap labor (even as trained labor stands in the unemployment line) or moved production and research overseas (again, to obtain cheap labor). This problem hits associate degree holders as hard as it hits bachelor degree holders.

"PMPA's Vice President, Darlene Miller states in the article "I don't think it's coincidental that when our [high school] dropout rate increased by 30 percent was when all of our technical classes in our high schools ended." And that is when industry lost its pipeline of potential skilled workers."

In many towns industry dried up (quit hiring or moved away), while school budgets shrank, so many schools cut programs that supported jobs that no longer existed locally.

"Parents worry about schools "tracking" their children at a young age: pushing them to choose between the path to college and the path to technical school, and closing off the road not taken."

This has been true for decades. When I was in High School we had to choose between college or vocational paths, and were not allowed to mix courses between them. I was pushed into "college bound", which made it impossible for me to take "shop" classes. I didn't like that, and still wish that I had had the opportunity to take some "shop" classes - to get practical hands-on experience, instead of well-intentioned but practically useless humanities classes that were required for "college bound". I'm not saying that the "college bound" program was all bad, but as a mechanical engineer I've needed to understand more about fabrication processes than I've needed to understand art history (for example).

"When we understand that 54 percent of our unemployed are college graduates, what does that tell us? It tells us that we've been training people for jobs that don't exist,"

Does that "54%" include liberal arts degrees, or just STEM degrees?

It could tell us that the training has been inadequate. Although I completed an engineering bachelor's degree, I quickly found that it was too generalized and too far behind the technology curve to make me highly employable. Supporters claimed that college's role was to "demonstrate that I was trainable", but employers do not want to train. They want employees who can hit the ground running, even in their own little niches.

"Is going into debt and spending six or more years to get a four-year college degree, and then not having any assurance of finding a job to cover that investment when you're done, is that really real?"

She's right, it's unrealistic. That's a major reason that the number of college STEM graduates has been decreasing over the past three decades. But I'm not sure that purchasing technical training for industrial jobs is realistic either. In locales where an industry is still supporting its community you can still find training tailored for it, especially at the community college level. But those are rare - you're more likely to find shuttered factories or employers who demand "qualified employees" without supporting any training needed to create those "qualified employees".

I agree that we should resurrect vocational training options for pre-college age students, but I doubt that will solve our unemployment problems or general economic malaise. The attitudes of industrial employers will need to change - they need to want to invest in their own businesses (via their own communities) instead of squeezing blood out of stones.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: "Dancing over the abyss."
Posts: 4887
Good Answers: 240
#5
In reply to #4

Re: Skills CAN Fill the Skill Gap

05/20/2013 4:18 PM

Hi Ferd. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Well the industries sure paid taxes to those communities, whiole the schools eliminated vocational track and pushed everyone into college prep. I wiould say that the communities walked away fro mthe work that built them.

But in my experience, when the industrial plants that were built pre world war II were no longer cost effective, yeah, they closed. But with militant unions in the valley, nobody opened bnew factories. I remember shootings on picket lines as a kid growing up in Yougstown Warren Ohio.

I think you are correct about not being able to take the full range of classes to get skills as well as academics. My son's high school friend chose the vocational school rather than academic HS even though he planned on mechanica l engieneering in college. He just graduated last week. NIce offer. Nice job, and He knows How, not just what the book says.

Of course it means liberal arts degrees, largely BA too (less math requirements)

My work with Ms. Miller has been to create pilot progrrams for job training (Right Skills Now) which is now being emulated to get returning veterans credentials and back into the work force with a career path. Most of our associations member companies provide tutition assistance, as does our education foundation. I really don't see the employers as the major obstacle... getting people who can actually do high school math and pass a urine test and solve problems experientially is not up to the employer...is it?

Milo

__________________
People say between two opposed opinions the truth lies in the middle. Not at all! Between them lies the problem, what is unseeable,eternally active life, contemplated in repose. Goethe
Register to Reply
Register to Reply 5 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

ferd (1); lleytzbassett (2); Milo (1); phoenix911 (1)

Previous in Blog: Math Use On The Job - Precision Machining   Next in Blog: New OSHA Temporary Worker Rules