Enhancing the Skills of Today’s Manufacturing Workforce
Throughout most of the nation’s history, the job market has generally driven the American Dream through providing the employment opportunities that fuel a higher standard of living. This has been true from generation to generation over the past 240 years. Much of this growth has been driven by the industrial prowess we all know as manufacturing.
The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP), a federal-state-industry partnership under the auspices of the US Department of Commerce, which provides small- and medium-sized New Jersey manufacturers with access to technologies, resources and industry experts, is actively involved in keeping that prowess alive.
While offshore competition has increased, our manufacturing companies are more than capable of winning out both domestically and globally. NJMEP’s ‘in-plant’ efforts enable our manufacturers to compete successfully by streamlining their operations and educating their workforce. We’ve helped them reduce turnaround time through lean process and continuous improvement and with implementing, what’s often now required by their customers, quality systems such as ISO and Six Sigma. NJMEP also provides “big picture” assistance i.e., innovation/growth, R&D tax credit analysis, as well as supply chain, transportation and logistics consulting.
NJMEP provides customized workforce training to ensure a company’s employees have the skills required to operate in a much more complex manufacturing environment. In addition to the in-plant customized training and consulting services, NJMEP also offers complimentary workshops and webinars, as well as fee-based workshops, making it cost effective for manufacturers to stay compliant with new legislation, better processes and results-oriented sales and marketing techniques.
All of our engagements begin with a thorough assessment, which is used to develop a clear training plan with measurable results. No matter what the nature of the training, reportable impact is a must. As part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s center oversight, all programs NJMEP delivers are surveyed by an independent third party to capture the impact realized by the recipients of our services. Investments in NJMEP workforce training programs result in excellent ROO and ROI for manufacturers, as our data indicates.
However, it doesn’t end there. Relationships with an expanded network of expert resources, vo-tech schools, our county colleges, universities and industrial training partners allow for an all-inclusive process that starts and ends with the companies in need of fully-developed employees.
NJMEP has been actively engaged in growing the manufacturing workforce by bringing together students and manufacturers; the educators, legislators and manufactures; as well as promoting the industry at every opportunity possible. For many years, we were faced with the loss of most vo-tech education from our secondary schools, and a reduced emphasis on engineering outside of the computer-based programs and trade apprenticeships, these are areas which made our country’s economic escalation possible. Things are changing. The importance of manufacturing as an economic driver is once again being realized, both nationally and in the state, and steps are being taken to implement a support system for its resurgence. NJMEP is an integral part of that support system.