Continual Workforce Development: The Key to Ohio’s Future Manufacturing Success
It’s no secret that there is a skills gap in American manufacturing.Although unemployment lines remain full, manufacturers are struggling to find qualified workers.
The problem is real and, if not addressed, one that will only get worse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Boston Consulting Group suggests that “the retirement of aging
workers, as well as heightened demand for workers, could cause serious skilled-labor shortages in the U.S. By 2020, the nation could face a shortfall of around 875,000 machinists, welders, industrial machinery operators, and other highly skilled manufacturing professionals.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Continual Workforce Development: The Key to Ohio’s Future Manufacturing Success
Continual Workforce Development:
The Key to Ohio’s Future
“Years of outsourcing and offshoring have so damaged U.S.
manufacturing, the argument goes, that its once-abundant pool
of welders, engineers, and machine operators have shifted to other
occupations. And the U.S education system is failing to train enough
new skilled workers to replace those who retire.”1
—The Boston Consulting Group
It’s no secret that there is a skills gap in American manufacturing.
Although unemployment lines remain full, manufacturers are struggling to find qualified workers.
The problem is real and, if not addressed, one that will only get worse.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Boston Consulting Group suggests that“the retirement of aging
workers, as well as heightened demand for workers, could cause serious skilled-labor shortages in
the U.S. By 2020, the nation could face a shortfall of around 875,000 machinists, welders, industrial-
machinery operators, and other highly skilled manufacturing professionals.”2
The question is what can we in the manufacturing community do about it?
The skills gap must be first understood and then addressed through the joint efforts of educational
centers and manufacturers.
I N T H E N E W S :
“Employers across North-
east Ohio say they have job
openings. Many pay $50,000
a year—or more. And they
can’t fill them. Talent gap,
skills gap. Whatever you call
it, it’s real, according to those
on the front lines of manu-
facturing in Northeast Ohio.
Hundreds of high-quality,
highly skilled factory jobs
are going unclaimed, much
to the consternation of com-
panies and those charged
with providing them with an
educated workforce.” 3
- Peter Krause,
Only 30 percent
of parents are
children to enter
While 77 percent of
people in the U.S. fear
the loss of domestic
manufacturing jobs to
Only 17 percent
of people see
manufacturing as a
top career choice.
More than 70 percent
of Americans view
the most important
industry for a strong
the skills gap
There is more than one reason for the current gap not the least of which is that older workers
are retiring and young people aren’t stepping in to take their place. This is primarily due to a
lack of training fueled by limited educational opportunities and lack of interest. Consider these
statistics from the National Association of Manufacturers 2011 Skills Gap Report, taken from a
recent Huffington Post article4
70% 30% 77% 17%
To compound the problem, because today’s manufacturing firm requires employees with an ad-
vanced set of skills that often require some level of post-high school technical education, it is difficult
to go from the unemployment line to the production line without formal training.
A lot of hard work is required to develop a workforce that will fuel the success of our industry in the
coming years. As our industry progresses into next generation manufacturing, the skills needed for
the manufacturing workforce are changing. Even incumbent workers need training to help the man-
ufacturing industry apply new technologies that will help increase productivity. The usual on-the-job
training still used by many companies is rarely enough to teach the latest skills.
It is not that training is non-existent by any means, but opportunities are often limited.
Potential sources of training include
To meet the demands for trained workers, there must be an increase in the availability of training
opportunities. On the other hand, manufacturers must provide a steady stream of students to
be trained in order for the training providers to economically offer the courses. Ties between
manufacturers, educational centers, and other entities must be forged to provide these vital links
between workers and our industry.
Without these connections, it is unlikely that a solid workforce development plan will come together.
Decisive actions must be taken to narrow the skills gap trend. PolymerOhio and its subsidiary
OH!Manufacturing play the valuable role of matchmaker—using their extensive industry knowledge
and connections to bring together as many suitable entities as possible, strengthening Ohio
manufacturing as a whole.
n Courses, certificates,
and degrees offered by
two-year colleges and
n Public courses
offered by training
and its subsidiary
OH!Manufacturing play the valuable role of matchmaker—using
their extensive industry knowledge and connections to bring together
as many suitable entities as possible, strengthening Ohio manufacturing
as a whole.
Attacking the gap
through collaboration and education
The skills gap affecting manufacturers must be targeted and narrowed. By doing so, Ohio
manufacturers can improve their odds of success in both the short and long term. To make big ideas
turn into a prosperous reality, there has to be a strong workforce to fuel its growth.
A carefully designed plan is needed to fill the skills gap.
pipelines that will offer workers the
ability to earn family-sustaining wages in
challenging jobs that encourage continuous
skills development for advancement.
OH!Manufacturing and the Ohio MEP play
integral roles as an interface between
individual manufacturers and the career
tech community to promote the formation
and long-term success of training-based
n Find or create a training program that
works for you—Courses, certificates, and
degrees offered by two-year colleges and
career centers are available in all fifty
states by organizations and technical
education centers with the specific
objective of helping workers improve
their skills and knowledge to foster their
careers by helping their employers grow.
Get to know the opportunities in your area
and, if they are lacking, seek a new way to
partner and enhance workforce training for
n Partner with your local career center—
Many organizations are partnering with
educational centers to develop training
and awareness programs that will result
in more students working towards a
career in manufacturing. You too can take
part by working with partners to improve
Ohio’s manufacturing future. Learn more
about how partnerships promote both soft
n Recognize that manufacturers must
act now—Forming a new partnership
or program is a complex endeavor.
Manufacturers must take the responsibility
now to collaborate with training providers
to define goals, devise content and
implement training that is relevant to today’s
manufacturing workplace. Now is the time to
form these alliances.
n Positively change young people’s
perception of manufacturing—Invite
students to take part in career fairs, site
visits, or whatever form of interaction is
necessary to reach them. Show them what
manufacturing today entails. Outreach events
via mobile laboratories make it possible for
manufacturers to showcase our industry at
educational centers as well.
n Partner with other manufacturers—
Manufacturers need to collaborate with
other manufacturers in addition to
non-profit organizations. This can help
you overcome the problem of not being big
enough to warrant a special program.
n Actively recruit and train—Target anyone
who is still in school, underemployed,
or unemployed as potential future
employees. Many of those who fit
this demographic do not know of the
interesting jobs, family-sustaining wages
and advancement potential in the
manufacturing industry. It is important
that this group is made fully aware of the
opportunities within the manufacturing
community and is adequately trained to
take advantage of them.
n Enlist the help of nonprofit
organizations—You don’t have to go
it alone. Nonprofit organizations like
OH!Manufacturing and the Ohio MEP
are working towards creating training
To learn more about career tech schools
in Central Ohio with a strong commitment
to Ohio manufacturing, please contact
OH!Manufacturing at (614) 776-5265.
and hard skills development, which are both
beneficial to any company’s workforce.
n Work closely with your partners—To
maximize the effectiveness of training
partnerships, understand that you
will most likely need to work with the
institution to develop the appropriate
curriculum. You’ll also need to be willing to
work with the educational center to train the
students. This can take shape in many forms:
" Participation in special projects
" Career fairs
" Student recruitment
" Hiring of graduates
These endeavors can take place separately or in conjunction with one another. These efforts result in
today’s manufacturers putting skills into the toolboxes of the workers they’ll rely on in the future to
help them dream bigger and accomplish more than competitors outside of Ohio.
in action: Spotlight on C-TEC
A good example of the collaborative efforts described above is the partnership between
OH!Manufacturing, central Ohio manufacturers and the Career and Education Technology Centers of
Licking County (C-TEC).
C-TEC is one of about 50 similar centers in Ohio, many of which have a strong commitment to manufacturing
in the Buckeye State. However, C-TEC is the one of the leaders in establishing manufacturing training
programs.This is largely because C-TEC has been working directly with manufacturers in Licking County for
many years, understanding both the job classifications and skill sets they require in employees.
C-TEC’s emergence as a manufacturing training ground provides a
great example of what the creative minds in the partnership of Ohio’s
manufacturers with their local training partner have come up with to
prepare for future success and growth. The Center has even developed
C-TEC EDGE, a seven-week manufacturing certification program that
provides the entry-level skills and national certification needed to
obtain manufacturing employment in Licking County. The program
requires manufacturers to work with the educational institution to
develop an appropriate curriculum and then commit to hire students
with the certificate.
Programs like C-TEC EDGE connect graduates with potential employers,
creating an effective pipeline from educational centers directly into the
work force. Major supporting manufacturers of C-TEC EDGE such as those
listed in the sidebar on the right are investing in their own community
while reaping valuable benefits. Participating companies gain access
to a consistent, steady stream of pre-trained, pre-qualified, validated
candidates for their workforce.
The benefits of arrangements like this are obvious, yet they do not take
place unless manufacturers have connections with educational centers
where young workers seek training. With these partnerships in place,
manufacturers can effectively and regularly bring new talent to their
These Licking County
supporters of C-TEC EDGE
and utilize the program as a
source of recruitment when
jobs are available
Bayer Materials Science
Dow Chemical Company
Harry & David
Fabricated Products, LLC
Ohio Metal Technologies
Packaging Corp of America
Samuel Strapping Systems
State Industrial Products
The Boeing Company
THK Manufacturing of America
UTC Aerospace Systems
OH!Manufacturing helps small- and medium-size manufacturers in Central Ohio address their
growth and profitability challenges. We do this by working with manufacturers in two broad
areas: enhancing product development and commercialization and improving manufacturing
efficiency and effectiveness. Our experience in modeling and simulation software puts the
manufacturers we work with at the forefront of Ohio’s manufacturing renaissance.
From research and development to innovation management, OH!Manufacturing has experience
that can be levied to help manufacturers find and enter partnerships that will be extremely
beneficial to them.
For more information, or to find out how we can help your organization reach its growth
potential, please visit the OH! Manufacturing website at www.excellenceinmanufacturing.org
or give us a call at 614-776-5265.
Some of the other ways OH!Manufacturing provides assistance include
n Growing revenues,
n Reducing costs,
n Improving quality,
n Improving customer satisfaction,
n Improving speed (in all areas),
 Sirkin, Harold L., Michael Zinser, and Justin R. August.“The US Skills Gap- Could it threaten a manufacturing renaissance?”Boston Consulting Group.
 Sirkin, Harold L., Michael Zinser, and Justin R. August.
 Krouse, Peter.“Help wanted: Local manufacturers have jobs they can’t fill because of skills gap.”cleveland.com.
 Path, Bill R.“Changing Perceptions, Celebrating Skills on Manufacturing Day.”Huffington Post 7 Oct. 2013.
Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-bill-r-path/changing-perceptions-cele_b_4045104.html>.
155 Commerce Park Drive, Suite 8
Westerville, OH 43082
For more information, or to find out how we can help your organization
reach its growth potential, please visit the OH!Manufacturing website at
www.excellenceinmanufacturing.org or give us a call at 614-776-5265.
Top-notch companies need top-notch employees, and our state’s up and coming workforce must
possess complex skill sets. The measures that PolymerOhio, OH!Manufacturing, and the companies
and educational centers are enacting will empower the growth of Ohio’s manufacturing industry.
Forging relationships with training institutions to offer training that best prepares your future
employees will help assure a continuing development of skilled workers. These carefully overseen
partnerships will bridge the skills gap that endangers Ohio’s manufacturing prosperity and ensure
that the sky remains the limit for what our industry can accomplish now and in years to come.
n Maintaining margins,
n Dealing with higher costs (such as health
care), taxes, and regulations,
n Increasing the pace of innovation, and
n Ensuring a properly trained workforce.