Hiring Our Heroes: Solving the Manufacturing Skills Gap
The skills gap is real, and it is well known that manufacturers are having a difficult time filling open positions. According to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 84% of executives agree there is a talent shortage in U.S. manufacturing, and six out of ten manufacturers have open skilled production positions that are unfilled due to talent shortages.
Also, the unemployment rate is 3.7%, the lowest it has been in years. There simply aren’t as many people out of work and actively job hunting. Together, the low unemployment rate and the talent shortage make filling open manufacturing positions extremely difficult.
However, manufacturing companies have a potential solution: veterans. Military.com calls veterans and manufacturing “a natural fit.” Manufacturing’s culture is often similar to what veterans experienced when they served. For example, in manufacturing, no task can be completed without a team. This fosters camaraderie and makes people feel that they are a part of a bigger mission.
Here are three great programs that train veterans in manufacturing skills and help them secure employment.
Academy of Advanced Manufacturing
The Academy of Advanced Manufacturing aims to provide 1,000 military veterans per year with the skills to succeed in advanced manufacturing roles. This initiative is a joint effort between ManpowerGroup and Rockwell Automation. (Rockwell Automation is a MAPI member company.)
Heroes MAKE America
Heroes MAKE America is a full-time, 10-week career skills program, that launched in partnership with the U.S. Army Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program at Fort Riley and the USO Pathfinder Program at Fort Riley. The Manufacturing Institute created the Heroes MAKE America program to build a pipeline from military to manufacturing careers for transitioning service members.
Workshops for Warriors
Founded in 2008, Workshops for Warriors is a nonprofit school based in San Diego. Its mission is to provide quality training, accredited STEM educational programs, and opportunities to earn third-party, nationally-recognized credentials to enable veterans, transitioning service members, and other students to be successfully trained and placed in their chosen advanced manufacturing career field. There are no enrollment or tuition costs for veterans.
Programs like these are instrumental at hiring and training veterans, and it is paying off. The unemployment rate for veterans has greatly decreased in the past several years. In October 2018, the overall veteran unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, which is lower than the non-veteran unemployment rate. This is a stark contrast from the 8.3% veteran unemployment rate in 2011 (the 18-24-year-old veteran unemployment rate was 30.2% that year).
The issue of the skills gap needs to be addressed, and it may take education curriculum reform or legislation. But for now, manufacturing companies have a great solution in hiring veterans and supporting those who served.
Veterans have great tactical and technical skills, but how else can they contribute to your organization? Learn more in our next blog.