Closing the Skills Gap

 In The Buzz
It’s back to school time for a lot of young people – but just because you’re out of school doesn’t mean you should stop learning. There are always plenty of opportunities throughout your career to continue your education – and more and more, companies are relying on employees who seize these opportunities. With more and more industries seeing an almost constant growth in their workloads – as well as industries finding themselves evolving to meet output demands and modern safety standards alike – n, many companies are finding that they there is a need for more skilled workers in their employee lineup. Unfortunately, in many cases, this need isn’t being filled, as it’s become increasingly more difficult to find these skilled laborers. The good news? Even if these skilled workers aren’t lining up at your door, your company can still meet this need for a skilled workforce. In fact, DeWys Manufacturing in Marne, Michigan, found that the solution to this very problem wasn’t finding additional skilled workers: the answer was educating the workers they already had- and in this company’s case, making the shift from, “where do we find skilled workers?” to, “how do we create the training programs to make our workers more skilled?” made all the difference. The question then is, how can you create the same benefits and great outcomes as DeWys Manufacturing? Some companies have created success for themselves by providing short apprenticeship programs to young students just out of school. By taking them in and teaching them the skills needed for their trade, they can ensure that these young people are already equipped for the job. Out of the 10 or so students who come into a program like this, 6 of them usually come on as full-time employees. Ultimately, these young workers are prepared to come in and do a good job from the get-go. But what if you’re working with a more experienced staff? For older, more experienced employees, an apprenticeship is obviously not the appropriate method. Different measures will need to be taken for people who have been in the industry for some time and need to adapt to new techniques and methods. Fortunately, OSHA offers a multitude of training and educational programs to move employees further in their careers. They even offer training materials if you’re more of a DIY person and you’d prefer to do the learning on your own time at your own pace. Worried about the cost of these endeavors? You may very well find that assistance programs will put this movement well within your budget; under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, for example, nonprofits are awarded grants to be put towards developing training and educational programs for employees. For more information on how your organization can go about applying for grants such as this one, head here. We hope we’ve demonstrated that your education doesn’t have to end just because your years at school have. There are plenty of opportunities for people of all ages and skill sets to continue their learning and to continue on the path of improving themselves. If you think your company could benefit from these types of programs, mention them to your bosses and see how they respond to this possible method of improvement. A good boss will see that by furthering the education of their employees gives them the incentive to do more with their careers – which in turn can benefit the organization as a whole. Sources cited Industry Week 1, 2