The Devastating Skills Gap in the Manufacturing Sector
Turning on the news in today’s world is likely to give anyone an instant headache. Supply chain issues, the rising cost of manufactured goods, and the lack of employees in the workforce are headlines that are becoming more and more prevalent these days. While there are many different reasons for the troubles that employers and consumers are faced with, the skills gap affecting manufacturing companies takes front stage in the woes of the times. Manufacturing employers in particular are seeing an immense shortage of people interested in a skilled trade’s career, leading to a scarcity of trained individuals ready to be placed on the job, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in August of 2021 there were 892,000 manufacturing job openings in the U.S. Many factors have played a role in this including, the retirement of skilled workers, the lack of individuals entering the workforce with any sort of industrial certifications, fewer people are graduating with a 2 or 4 year college degree in an industry field, and the false perception that a career in manufacturing is less lucrative than other jobs continue to stunt the number of people pursuing education to develop the needed skills.
In a time when a vast number of people are quitting their jobs and looking for a better opportunity, a manufacturing career should appear as the perfect opportunity. However individuals who worry about starting their career over by attending a 2- or 4-year program to get up to speed may seem too large a burden. While it is true that modern manufacturing facilities need highly skilled individuals, it is not true that you need to complete a college degree before starting your new career. The solution is to gain enough skills to be a valuable employee while continuing to further your education. But how does an individual obtain, and then prove they have the needed skills? In order to close the skills gap for manufacturing careers such as industrial maintenance technicians, industry needs proof that applicants can complete relevant job duties before moving forward in the hiring process.
Pinpointing the Need
The need for knowledgeable technicians in technologies including electro-pneumatics systems, PLCs, mechanical systems, precision measurement, robotics etc. are increasingly important in today’s fast paced manufacturing environment. With more advanced technology comes an increasing need for industry certified employees to operate, troubleshoot, and repair equipment vital to the success of an employer.
Educators play an extremely valuable role in the success, or struggles of the manufacturing sector. Building programs that align with industry skill standards needs are incredibly important to transition individuals from students to skilled employees. Although 2-4 year degrees are wonderful for developing advanced skills, employers need skilled and trained workers today. The quickest and most effective course for both industry and educators are industry recognized certifications. These certifications are based on standards that align with highly-desirable industry skills. Educators who place an emphasis on certifications find it an efficient and relevant way to prepare individuals for success.
Using Certifications to Fill the Gap
One of the most recognized certifications is MSSC’s (The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) Certified Production Technician Plus credential (CPT+). The CPT+ certification proves to an employer that an individual has gone through a rigorous skills assessment in both knowledge and hands-on skills assessment, and is prepared for the workplace
A CPT+ certification offers educators the ability to provide an industry recognized credential for students. For those pursuing a 2 or 4 year degree it provides students with an income to offset the costs of obtaining a degree, while providing employers with skilled talent they desperately need.
So obviously certifications like CPT+ are extremely useful for employers and individuals, but, they also provide educators with an excellent way to gauge a student’s abilities in the classroom. Industrial courses are designed to impart to individuals the skills needed by manufactures. By structuring an education program around industry standards, hands-on assessment, and industry-recognized certifications, educators are able to see real time results to determine where a student is struggling, or excelling within the program.
Skill Boss Manufacturing | Hands-On Training & Assessment Device
Skill Boss Manufacturing, designed to meet MSSC standards, is a hands on skill training and assessment system that integrates seamlessly into any manufacturing program, and is required for a CPT+ certification. Skill Boss Manufacturing is designed to assess the hands-on skills needed by todays advanced manufacturing production areas, including assembly and machine operation by evaluating areas like safety, quality, production processes and maintenance awareness. Performing a real-world sorting and finishing process, Skill Boss Manufacturing, developed by Amatrol, automatically feeds parts into the system where they are rejected, or accepted to continue the process. If accepted, the parts are buffed with a polishing wheel before a 3-axis robotic pick and place system picks up the part and moves it into “finished goods” based on its material.
Skill Boss allows employers, and educators to evaluate the skills of employees, and students in a rigorous hands-on way, giving incredible insight into how an individual will adapt to real world scenarios as they install, adjust, and troubleshoot components on a fully functional mechatronics system. Amatrol’s amazing system is also compatible in all working environments, whether in the classroom, or on the job, Skill Boss Manufacturing offers a training platform compact enough for a single table, while giving the ability for multiple individuals to work side-by-side in a training environment.
About Shane Brown
Shane Brown is a former business consultant and marketing specialist. He is currently a Marketing Content Developer for Amatrol, Inc. Learn more about Amatrol and its technical training solutions, including elearning, here and connect with Shane on Amatrol’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages.