Manufacturing Day 2018: Celebrating Those Working to Close the Skills Gap
How BelFlex and others are advancing the industry through education and training programs
At BelFlex we feel pretty lucky to have a hand in finding the talent manufacturers need to bring to life the products we use every day. Manufacturing Day is a great opportunity to reflect on our role in moving the industry forward.
The workforce environment largely remains unchanged—retiring Baby Boomers, and very few unemployed tradespeople to take their place. Today we wanted to focus our thoughts not on the challenges faced by manufacturers, but the helpful solutions and programs underway every day to help us all succeed together.
Dirty Jobshost brings awareness to manufacturing careers
Mike Rowe has made a career out of his role as a champion for the value of hard work. Rowe famously shines a spotlight on a variety of “dirty” jobs that TV viewers rarely even know exist, but he goes the extra mile with his latest venture. Through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Rowe brings awareness to our dysfunctional relationship with work, the widening skills gap and the assumption that a four-year degree is best for everyone. The Foundation has granted more than $3 million in education for trade schools across the country.
10-week program trains veterans for hard-to-fill roles
Heroes MAKE America is a full-time, 10-week career skills program launched by The Manufacturing Institute to help ex-military members transition into civilian careers in manufacturing. While the two career fields are very different, they share many of the same core elements, like teamwork, commitment to mission, communication and critical thinking skills. The program makes veterans even more valuable to manufacturers by reducing the burden of on-the-job training and enabling them to start contributing more quickly.
Training the next generation of manufacturing leaders
In South Carolina, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that manufacturing accounts for 17% of the economy – 50% higher than the national average. A Clemson University program, called THINKER, brings together graduate students and technical college students and aims to create the next generation of manufacturing leaders tasked with combatting the industry’s skills gap. The program is backed by $3 million from the National Science Foundation.
How BelFlex makes a difference in its communities
We’re proud to help to solve the skills gap in our markets, and in a way, our solution merges the ideas brought forth by the organizations highlighted above—awareness and training—in several ways.
- BelFlex launched the BelFlex Junior Mentoring Program (BJMP) in 2015. The program raises awareness among high school students for the benefits of a career in manufacturing through an eight-week training program to help them get placed into jobs. Last year alone BelFlex employees contributed nearly 1,000 volunteer hours to make the program a success in various markets. More than that, in 2017, 81 local businesses, schools and organizations participated in the program in some way, bringing together the communities around a common goal.
- BelFlex is also a key contributor to the LIFT the Tristate program. It is a free, 10-week job training program that gives unemployed and underemployed adults across Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio the skills needed for employment in the warehouse and transportation industries.
- Since acquiring Premier Staffing in 2017, BelFlex has embraced the company’s relationship with the Falcon Academy, an eight-week program that provide veterans with the skills and certifications necessary to launch their post-military careers. It also offers professional transition assistance, where BelFlex helps participants with a range of job search skills including building quality resumes, setting up social media accounts such as LinkedIn and preparing to meet potential employers.
We encourage everyone to learn more about Manufacturing Day and the possible ways to get involved.