Thursday, October 12, 2017

Purdue University Partners with Industry to Bridge the Manufacturing Skills Gap

FISHERS,  – 

Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership Launches Skills for Success to Deliver Manufacturing Training Across Indiana

In my travels across the state, I have grown accustomed to the Help Wanted signs, banners, and advertisements that adorn many of our great manufacturing facilities. Those of us on the front lines of manufacturing don’t need the most recent facts or figures to know the situation is quickly becoming dire.

The number of current openings in the manufacturing sector, paired with the expected new jobs, requires an all hands on deck approach with new, innovative offerings to interest individuals in a manufacturing career.

The Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has taken this opportunity to develop a training program that provides individuals with a foundation of manufacturing knowledge in a boot camp style 10-day course. The condensed nature of the course allows participation from audiences that may not be in a position to commit to a longer-term training program. This approach appears to be working; thus far, the graduation rate for the program is 86%.

The contents of the course include the vital skills that are lacking in the potential workforce. Problem solving, critical thinking, basic math, and soft skills are all covered in the Skills for Success curriculum. Furthermore, the math courses taught are specific to a manufacturing environment—blueprint reading, measurement for manufacturing, and basic shop math.

In the cohorts held to date, a wide range of individuals has graduated from the course. High school students, unemployed individuals, non-violent offenders, and companies seeking on-boarding training are a sampling of the Skills for Success participants. The cohorts range from 10-20 participants and are being held in locations throughout the state.

CFA Staffing, a successful SkillUp recipient, has partnered with Purdue MEP to deliver the Skills for Success program to their manufacturing employees. The organization has been thrilled with the impact of the training.

“Our clients have been very pleased with the results of the Purdue MEP program. We’re being told that our employees are progressing much faster than those having no prior manufacturing training, and we are also experiencing a significant reduction in employee turnover. CFA Staffing is looking forward to expanding the Purdue MEP Skills for Success program to more of our manufacturing clients,” Teresa Wade, President, CFA Staffing

The program provides individuals with skills for an entry-level role, however, the hope is that these participants use this opportunity to pursue a manufacturing career and further advance their skills after a period of successful employment.

While the Purdue MEP Skills for Success program is one small piece in a larger workforce puzzle, it has quickly gained traction throughout the state. Additional details on Skills for Success can be found on the Purdue MEP website, or by contacting Rob Hudson. 

---This article was originally posted by the Indiana Manufacturers' Association, and can be found here

Writer: Robert Hudson, 317-348-3439, robhudson@purdue.edu

NIST

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