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ResourceMFG | Manufacturing Workforce Specialists
6 steps to overcoming the manufacturing skills gap

The manufacturing sector is facing a shortage of workers and has been for quite some time, thanks largely to misconceptions about the kind of job opportunities the industry provides. Perhaps one of the biggest issues is that, in most cases, people do not necessarily come to manufacturing with the skills they need to succeed within this industry, and therefore must be taught what it takes to get the job done.

Consequently, your company should be highly focused on highlighting what it can do to help ensure people have all the skills they need to fill these positions with confidence. That includes the following:

1) Frame your openings as career opportunities

First and foremost, you may need to do more to reframe the manufacturing sector in people's minds so they can really see themselves spending years or even decades working for you, according to Stecker Machine. Even if you're bringing them aboard for entry-level jobs, make sure to highlight advancement opportunities that will allow them to keep succeeding for years to come.

2) Create a clear path forward

Along similar lines, you should strive to ensure there are always opportunities for people to move up within your company if they want them, Stecker Machine said. That way, those who come in at the entry level but want to advance their skills and careers can be confident they'll be able to do so without waiting years for the chance.

3) Recruit in new ways

In recent years, you have likely done more to expand your recruiting pipeline, but it will be helpful to consistently evaluate where and how you are trying to connect with prospective hires, according to IndustryWeek. You may find you're fishing in relatively empty waters and need to pivot, but without reviewing the data, you would have little to no way of knowing that.

4) Connect new hires to existing employees

Once you bring people aboard, it's not enough to just give them basic skills training and drop them into their roles, IndustryWeek advised. It would be a good idea for you to make sure new hires have a mentor who has been around the block more than a few times and can help them better understand what it takes to truly succeed in manufacturing.

5) Highlight your training efforts

Your company likely invests in at least some kind of ongoing skills training efforts, and because blue-collar workers tend to highly value this kind of development opportunity, you would be wise to advertise your initiatives on this front, according to Amatrol. When you can say, "We'll not only train for this job, but also the jobs you'll want years in the future," that can be very attractive.

6) Pay to train

Finally, it's advisable to ensure that workers will be able to draw a salary even during skills training, so that they see more opportunity right away, Amatrol recommended. Much like companies in other industries should offer paid internships and the like, even the newest hire should be confident they will be well-compensated for their time.

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