Bridging the Skills Gap – A Problem? Or Opportunity?

Help wanted, now hiring, immediate positions available; however put there is an obvious (and increasing) need for talented workers in the manufacturing sector. As baby boomers leave the workforce, a significant number of jobs will be required to be filled by younger generations. This ‘gap’ has been a highly sought after topic; frequently discussed in the news and at local and state government. In the process of researching best practices for bridging the skills gap, we’ve come across many proposed questions that address issues such as engaging millennials and how education plays a factor in ‘fixing’ the problem.

Our first article researched was from DiplomaticCourier.Com; their proposed question? How do we engage millennials –people who are mobile, who have supercomputers in their hands?

Answer: “Well that’s a great word, “engage.” In manufacturing we talk all the time about how important it is to engage not just the millennials, but to engage a number of different populations. So that really changes the communications burden. It’s not advertising anymore, it’s really connecting. It’s having stories to tell that are not all good, but authentic and give people a chance to self-select and ride with you. So I think the first thing is engage. After engage, there’s a need to allow them to go in a direction where they can be most effective, and that doesn’t mean that they’re willing to sit still and be told what to do all the time. This is a mobile generation. As soon as they’re tired of something they are going to move on.”

The final article was researched from Forbes.Com; asking, “Can we fix the skills gap?”

Answer. Bring transparency to an opaque process. Making job requirements more transparent would go a long way toward bridging the skills gap. Companies would define jobs not only by traditional job descriptions but also by a set of skill-based courses over which prospective jobs seekers can demonstrate mastery. Job descriptions could include a playlist of courses required to prepare for the job. This approach would help students figure the education and skills required for a given job.

Many companies have taken notice of the need to invest in training opportunities (whether leadership, management development or skills related), educating youth on the possibilities of manufacturing positions and partnering with educators to ensure necessary training prior to high school graduation. Our county in particular has begun a manufacturing initiative; partnering with local businesses to make force development their business (Read article: So, what sort of initiatives are in place to help your company bridge the skills gap?