In the last year, the manufacturing industry has gotten creative to find solutions to its workforce shortage. Small machine shops and large manufacturing operations have invested in recruitment and education, with incentives also from state and federal governments. The industry has also trended toward the return of apprenticeship programs, in some areas due to the influence of German manufacturers whose model depends on training future professionals in factories. Some groups have specifically targeted women and minority groups previously underrepresented in the workforce, believing these untapped pools of talent could fortify companies into the future.
While those options are all viable and should be pursued, the celebration of Veterans Day this week should remind folks in the manufacturing industry that soldiers, airmen, naval officers and marines returning from active duty need gainful employment just as much as the industry needs their expertise. The Manufacturing Institute leads an initiative called "Get Skills to Work", aimed at absorbing veterans into the industry's labor force. With real-world training in lateral thinking, perseverance and unmatched work ethic, veterans can be a crucial asset to filling the void of skilled workers.
"Get Skills to Work" has two key goals: (1) matching veterans' skills to civilian job responsibilities to support direct hire into manufacturing, and (2) accelerated training so veterans can quickly up-skill and be prepared for manufacturing careers," said the Manufacturing Institute.
The organization reports that more than 80 percent of manufacturing operations have trouble filling openings, while the veteran unemployment rate stands slightly higher than the natural average. Aiming to employ 100,000 veterans by 2015, your company might consider reaching out to veterans groups to discover the best and brightest talent our country has to offer.