NJMEP Engages Local Schools and Manufacturers to Bridge the Skills Gap
National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is celebrated from coast to coast with the intention of highlighting alternative career paths, pre-apprenticeship programs, and Registered Apprenticeships. Manufacturing has long relied on the apprenticeship model but it fell out of practice in recent decades. To reignite interest in industrial careers and begin to bridge the skills gap, the US DOL designates a week in November to celebrate the apprenticeship model. The workforce development team at NJMEP hosted an exclusive event for local entities in honor of National Apprenticeship Week (NAW).
On November 18th, the Pro-Action Education NetworkTM hosted representatives from over 15 school districts and manufacturing businesses at the Bellmawr, NJ-based Training Center. Any interested party was able to register for a personal invitation to experience how industry-focused education takes place in the 21st century.
Modern Manufacturing Employment – Job Seekers and Educational Partnerships Encouraged
Manufacturing looks extremely different than many people may imagine. Facilitates are cleaner, safer, and more technologically driven than ever before in history. These businesses are offering competitive benefits packages, professional development opportunities, and the annual manufacturing salary in New Jersey is over $94,000.
To take a step forward toward bridging the skills gap, schools and employers from all over the local area signed up for a one-on-one appointment to see firsthand how the industry is evolving and how the workforce is being rebuilt. Food and drinks were served, and the participants were able to enjoy a hands-on experience with manufacturing training technology that is poised to revolutionize pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and professional development.
Educators saw what it really is like to be a pre-apprentice learning how to program a HAAS CNC mill or weld high-carbon steel with the Miller Augmented Reality Arc Welding machine. Manufacturers were able to understand how an entry-level worker could quickly be upskilled by participating in nationally recognized Registered Apprenticeships programs. National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is the perfect time to engage with these two separate audiences to highlight the importance of working together.
Educating Students for the Careers Available
Schools need to feel confident that any curriculum being absorbed by a student during a pre-apprenticeship program is substantial and can lead to a fruitful career. The Pro-Action Education NetworkTM team was able to show both manufacturers and educators the equipment and explain the curriculum during these personal meetings. Manufacturing businesses that will be employing pre-apprentices and investing in their Registered Apprenticeship journey need to trust that these entry-level workers will be able to produce and contribute to their organization.
Close collaboration between educational institutions, manufacturing businesses, and training providers like NJMEP is essential in order to rebuild a workforce that has been withering away. Bringing industry back to the USA requires a workforce. Solving the workforce challenge requires all the entities involved to get engaged and collaborate. Schools have a unique set of performance indicators when compared to the employer. Schools need to place people in colleagues or make sure their students can find work once they graduate. This goal requires the schools to provide a curriculum that is conducive to either of those two paths. When it comes to finding jobs after school, the education provided must match up with the needs of the local employers. Manufacturers must engage with schools or third parties like NJMEP that are already engaging with educators to make sure school administration has access to the correct curriculum that aligns with the current job market. Manufacturing businesses want to engage with high schools and recent graduates, but job seekers need a foundational understanding of manufacturing which is exactly what pre-apprenticeship programs offer. Employers want to cultivate a workforce but it requires an investment of time and money. Job seekers that are trained to add value to a manufacturing organization are much more attractive to a business. Job seekers on the other hand are looking for a company that will pay them fairly, offer competitive benefits, and many people look for an employer that will support their professional development. Manufacturing, specifically a manufacturing business that invests in Registered Apprenticeship offers all three.
Manufacturing is Essential
Manufacturing is a critical industry. During the early days of the pandemic, New Jersey declared all manufacturing essential. This goes to show just how vital the industry is to our way of life. Without the right people, there will be no more local manufacturing. National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is actively working to address the most damaging workforce challenge, the lack of people.
National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is the perfect time for organizations, educators, manufacturers, or anyone else to get engaged and highlight the value of manufacturing and promote the countless on-ramps to get involved. NJMEP connected educators and manufacturers by inviting them to get hands-on with equipment that is actively being used to bridge the skills gap. This opportunity to experience modern training equipment and hear about the pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship curriculum is a step forward for everyone.
How to Engage
Whether you’re from a school, a manufacturing business, or a person seeking employment/education, contact us today! Click Here to get in touch with a member of the Workforce Development team here at NJMEP.