Bridging the Skills Gap

An employee recently attended a meeting with several managers from manufacturing companies where the topic was the lack of skilled trade employees. As you may have noticed at your company, the group agreed there was a shortage of available talent to fill critical roles. No one at the meeting saw an end in sight for the shortage and looking at the employment outlook, I would agree. With that backdrop, we discussed what companies could do to bridge the gap. Some of these are short term fixes, but most are longer term fixes. Here is what the group discussed:

  • Engage with the local school system. The system in our area recognizes the gap and has programs for High School students to learn trades and explore future jobs. They also work with companies in apprenticeships. They also encourage tours of faculties to expose students to various opportunities.
  • Sponsor a student. Some companies that require additional education are paying for the student to get the education with the agreement that once the education is complete, the student will come to work for the sponsoring company.
  • Educate kids on career paths that are available to them. It seems today that we push all kids to go to college. While that is good for some students, others can have great careers in a skilled trade. We need to make students aware of the choices they have and what a career path, including wages, could look like in their chosen trade.
  • Use outside help. Look to staffing firms to fill any needs.
  • Provide transportation. It was noted that some employees, especially younger ones, do not always have a reliable method of transportation. Companies can provide or sponsor transportation to extend a potential employee’s radius of work options. Anything companies can do to get employees to work would be a plus.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the above or other ideas you might have. Please leave comments below.

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