In early October, Worksystems and our partners in the Columbia Willamette Workforce Collaborative hosted a Manufacturing Summit to unveil the 2013-2015 Manufacturing Workforce Plan. 70 business representatives were in attendance as well as elected officials, community colleges, economic developers, and staff from the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and industry associations such as Manufacturing 21.
Over the past 18 months, we have solicited feedback from manufacturers to pinpoint their most critical workforce challenges. After engaging over 160 companies, three major themes surfaced:
- Manufactures are concerned about the quality and number of young people entering the industry
- Available labor does not have the skills needed for current and projected jobs
- Small manufacturers need greater access to continuous improvement training
Since that time, we have worked with a small Manufacturing Industry Panel - Chaired by Elizabeth King from ESCO - to develop a plan and strategies to address these needs. The Summit provided an opportunity to share the plan with the broader manufacturing community and gather feedback.
"Efforts to convene manufacturers have been fragmented in the past. Now that you have provided us with a plan, industry needs to take action." ~Charlie Hopewell, Sunset Manufacturing Corp.
The 2013-2015 Plan was created under the guidance of local manufacturing companies to address their workforce challenges. Industry has identified 3 goals:
- Build a Labor Pipeline by Attracting Interested and Committed Youth
- Find Work-Ready Candidates Now
- Strengthen the Manufacturing Community Through Continuous Improvement Opportunities
In response, Worksystems and our Collaborative partners have committed to a series of deliverables to achieve these goals including:
- Supporting 100 opportunities for youth internships in manufacturing occupations
- Creating 1,000 manufacturing career-related learning experiences for area students
- Establishing a hiring pool of 2,000 job seekers who meet industry identified standards and achieving a 75% fill rate
- Supporting continuous improvement training and other events for area companies
A full list of deliverables can be found in the Plan (attached below).
"Thank you, Worksystems, for your support of Leupold & Stevens by providing resources for our training and development efforts." ~Kimberly King, VP of HR and Organizational Development