Workforce Recruitment and Development
Manufacturers are struggling to find qualified employees to fill new job orders. Many applicants lack fundamental skills and others are not aware of career opportunities in the die casting industry.
An April 2016 survey conducted by the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA) found that of all respondents, 76% have skilled job openings; with many having severe or moderate challenges recruiting qualified employees. A 2015 study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute shows that manufacturers need to fill 3.5 million jobs over the next decade, 2.7 million due to retirements. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in May, the manufacturing sector had 356,000 job openings.
In Washington, the answer to workforce issues is too often to throw money at a training program. Manufacturers need targeted policies that focus on recruiting, training, and placing employees into in-demand jobs. We cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to address our workforce shortages. A manufacturer in one part of the country may need a machine operator while in a different region the demand for engineers is greater. NADCA believes local businesses and community leaders should decide which programs receive priority funding and know best which regional employers have job openings.
In addition to the immediate needs, we must attract the next generation of manufacturers. Businesses need to play a direct role in establishing K-12 STEM curriculum. We must help educators develop programs that better prepare students for the workforce and inform them about opportunities in manufacturing industries. Associations like NADCA have the expertise and resources needed to partner with educators and trainers to develop curriculum for the next generation of manufacturers.
Manufacturing supported an estimated 29.1 million jobs directly and indirectly in the United States in 2013; this includes 12 million jobs directly within manufacturing and another 17.1 million jobs in other sectors such as accounting, transportation, finance, and real estate. After total compensation, on average, a manufacturer earned nearly $80,000 in 2013, proving that manufacturing provides family-sustaining career opportunities.
Congress should build on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, which was an important first step in reforming our nation’s job training laws. Manufacturers need flexibility in our laws to create customizable solutions that meet their needs. This often means using programs that may not technically qualify as registered apprenticeship programs under current guidelines but do help the company and community address the skills gap locally.
To help recruit and train qualified employees for manufacturing careers, NADCA believes Washington:
- Should provide flexibility for Pell grants recipients to include eligibility for short term postsecondary certificate skills programs such as those in manufacturing;
- Needs to support Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and encourage a strong connection with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act;
- Must promote die casting careers to students, parents, and educators during public appearances;
- Can promote die casting companies at local job fairs, particularly those targeting veterans.
More NADCA Resources on Workforce Recruitment and Development: