A Manufacturing Education Series
Under the spotlight this time around for our Manufacturing Education Series is the Industry Workforce Needs Council via Jason Sprenger.
Sprenger is the 32 year old President and founder of Game Changer Communications located in Apple Valley, MN. Launched in September 2012, Game Changer Communications is a full service public relations firm that provides media relations, brand management, internal communications and strategic communications counsel to local tech, start-ups, small and medium sized companies.
I discovered Jason and then investigated further because of his response to one of our blogs, The Irrefutable Need To Fill the Manufacturing Skills Gap – Get the Right Asses in the Right Seats to Grow Your Business. Here’s his response:
“Skills gaps are an emerging topic among economics today, because they are emerging. Lots of data bear this out, and it’s wise for business, government, cities, etc. to start brainstorming and implementing solutions before the problem grows to be too severe.
One solution that’s proven to make a difference is investing in career and technical education (CTE). CTE programs, whether at the secondary, post-secondary or other educational levels, boost student achievement and deliver increased career and earning potential. CTE also produces workers for the open jobs of today, and boosts business productivity and economic status as a result.
The Industry Workforce Needs Council is a new organization of businesses working together to spotlight skills gaps and advocate/kick off CTE programs that work to curb the problem. For more information, or to join the effort, visit http://www.iwnc.org.”
Thanks Jason, I did! Industry Workforce Needs Council is “comprised of American business leaders who have the common goal of strengthening career and technical education (CTE) in the United States. In partnership with influential educational organizations, the IWNC raises awareness of the importance of CTE in America, the benefits it provides for high school and post-secondary students and the effects CTE has on the economy. The IWNC also advocates for CTE programming, curricula and funding on the federal, state and local levels.”
This is IWNC’s mission: “Increase the population of ready skilled workers by enhancing the image of Career and Technical Education (CTE) building general awareness and support and connection to programs.”
· Connecting and communicating the needs of business and industry can align curricula with workforce needs.
· Establishing and fostering business and education partnerships will strengthen programs.
· Relating with the general public to: drive skills gap awareness, showcase the value of CTE programs and its success, and demonstrate the value of the skilled trades career path.
· Advocate for CTE striving to create a unified voice among all who are focused on addressing the skills gap.
Perusing the IWNC site I found things worth repeating to our manufacturing readership, “The burden of responsibility for fixing the skills gap falls on many, but CTE is a part of the solution. Local, state and federal governments need to fund CTE programs and pursue CTE standards with rigor. Businesses need to raise awareness about the value of CTE and advocate for this investment in their future employees. Employers also should guide educators on the skills they need to fill available positions. Educators, then, must align with these needs and produce skilled workers in critical skilled labor functions to keep our businesses competitive globally.”
In order to understand the capabilities and scope of CTE programs, the IWNC gives a primer on it’s history and current trends,
“CTE began around the 1880s and mostly encompassed apprenticeship and on-the-job training opportunities for potential workers. A mutually beneficial bond formed between business, industry and education through these programs, and this bond has been a primary catalyst for the evolution of CTE over time. As workplace demands changed, so too did the education required to meet those demands. The courses and programs born out of that evolution became known as vocational education, a label that stuck for a many years. Since the technological revolution, however, American workforce needs have changed even more significantly. To meet those needs, CTE was recently redefined to include more career types and be tied to more rigorous academic standards.”
“It’s not just about manufacturing and skilled trades anymore; career paths such as marketing, business management, family and consumer sciences, agriculture, the arts, architecture, health sciences, law, tourism and many more now fall under the CTE umbrella. Courses within these career tracks make an extensive use of today’s advanced technology and teach students core academic and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects and challenges them to apply that knowledge to real-life scenarios.”
CTE isn’t just good for business, its good for overall student achievement. According to the IWNC website 81 percent of high school dropouts said more “real-world” learning would have influenced them to stay in school. Also, “CTE students are significantly more likely than non-CTE students to report that they developed problem-solving, project completion, research, math, college application, work-related, communication, time-management and critical-thinking skills during high school.”
The Industry Workforce Needs Council drives the bottom line home, “In today’s economy, it’s hard to get people across the aisle in Congress, or in the board room, or in the media, or anywhere else to agree on much. Yet there’s one thing they all seem willing to agree on: a skills gap is emerging in the American economy. Baby Boomers and others are retiring and moving on with their lives, and the companies they leave behind haven’t been as able as they’d like to find qualified, well-trained workers to replace them. This is especially true in the skilled trade industries, but there are stories like this almost everywhere in the economy. And the net effect is that open jobs are going unfilled. Americans aren’t working as much as they could be, despite unemployment being higher than normal. And businesses aren’t able to produce what they might otherwise be able to. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that this emerging and widening gap has serious implications for the American economy and overall way of life.”
I’ll wrap it up with an enlightening quote from IWNC’s site: “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.” –John W. Gardner, former President of the Carnegie Corporation and Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson
Therese Yacenda is the Social Media Manager at Accelerated Buy Sell, Inc. and Manufacturing Web Solutions as well as a contributing author to the blog. She orchestrates the social media landscape for the “Accelerated Group of Companies” that provides tools and services to help manufacturers grow and exit strategies to maximize dollars when they are ready to retire or sell their manufacturing business. Accelerated’s group of companies that provide services to the manufacturing industry includes:
www.AcceleratedBuySell.com – Provides Online Industrial Auction Services, Used Equipment Auctions, Capital Equipment Auctions, Plant Liquidations, Industrial Plant Cleanout Services, Used Machinery Location Services, Certified Machine Tool and Equipment Appraisals, and more.
www.AcceleratedMfgBrokers.com – Specializes in Manufacturing Business Brokerage and Mergers and Acquisitions. We help manufacturers develop exit strategies to maximize retirement dollars, and successful manufacturers expand through acquisition of other manufacturing companies, product lines and customer lists. Manufacturing Companies for sale throughout the United States are listed on this site.
www.AcceleratedRE.com – Provides Industrial Real Estate Brokerage Services, Online Real Estate Auctions, Sealed Bid Real Estate Auctions and complete industrial facility cleanout services.
www.IgniteMfg.com – Provides funding for products made in the USA, and engineering/manufacturing educational needs through Crowd Funding.
www.MfgWebSolutions.com – Provides web development and social media services for manufacturers at under-market rates.
Therese Yacenda is a contributing author to:
blog.AcceleratedBuySell.com - A site that provides the latest manufacturing news, statistics and opinion. It also provides information on how to grow a manufacturing business, and what to do if you are a manufacturing company that needs to close.
MFGWebSolutions.com/blog - Provides the latest information on social media and web development for manufacturers. It gives manufacturers tips and tricks for boosting their web presence.