Do you remember when you were a kid and you and your friends rolled a snow ball downhill watching it gain size and speed along the way? No one wanted to be in the way of the snow ball because it would run you over leaving you lying flat on your back in its wake. Unfortunately, the skilled trades gap is a snow ball that is rolling downhill, and manufacturing is the kid that just can’t seem to get out of the way.
We are at a point where the demand of skilled positions such as plumbers, electricians, machinists, welders and maintenance technicians is outpacing the supply. According to the Manufacturing Institute, the US will add 3.4 million manufacturing jobs from 2015-2025, but 2 million will go unfilled due to the skills gap. The impact of this gap to companies has the potential to be devastating. Around 82 percent of CEOs and manufacturing executives believe there will be a negative impact on their ability to meet their customer demands due to a lack of skilled workers.
How have we gotten to this point? Was it the elimination of shop class in school or is technology advancing too quickly for a higher education system that lacks the fluidity to keep pace with the change? We can ponder this forever or we can work to counteract these trends and find ways to expand the workforce and put emphasis on skills training partnerships.
One example of this type of collaboration locally is the Vincennes University Logistics Training and Education Center (VU LTEC) in Plainfield. VU LTEC offers short term training programs that focus on Global Logistics, Fork Lift Essentials, Team Leads and Supervisor training all inside their 40,000 square foot logistics warehouse. Bravo VU LTEC!
Additionally, Conexus Indiana is doing great things in the local market. They recently were awarded a three year grant to help continue their successful advanced manfucaturing and logistics (AML) initiative. It will develop the youger talent for these industries and also focus on growing post-secondary programs for the skills gaps in logistics, automotive and aerospace industries.
It is good to know we already have strategic programs working to close the Skill Gap in our state.