If you follow our business online, you’ll notice it is a concern that we regularly post about. Schools are not promoting technical education with the same fervor that they are with four-year degrees. This poses a tremendous risk to the success and future of our economy. Without the industrial work upon which our country was built, we stand little to no chance of remaining competitive on a global level. The world relies on American production, with nearly 20% of all goods produced in the United States.
Obviously, if you’re an employer reading this, this is unlikely to be breaking news on your radar.
We suggest building relationships at the high school level. Technical schools all over the country are tasked with training and educating those interested in trade work, however without strategic inroads to these organizations, employers could be left empty handed when it comes time to hire.
In any business it is important to be top of mind. Students are steered down career tracks beginning at a very young age. Getting in front of them and allowing them to engage with your company is imperative. Opening your doors to participate in Manufacturing Day is one easy way to make that happen. Invite students of all ages (if possible) to visit your facility. Heck, if you can swing it, pay for their buses to get there. Whatever it takes. Then make it a point to go to them once or twice a year too. The more they know your name and what you do, the more likely you are to be able to attract them in the future.
Rather than showing them around, give students a chance to learn! Employers can create a certificate program within their company allowing students to obtain skills that will better prepare and equip them for their future. A benefit to consider: by leading and offering these programs, your business will have direct access to the work in action. This allows you to keep an eye out for young talent and growing skill. Be sure to also check with local technical schools to determine if they will apply credit for a practicum experience.
There are organizations all over the country that are invested in developing the workforce of the future. From your local schools to development agencies, these outlets are making it a point to prepare American youth for the future. So why not lean into them? Make coffee with the counselors an annual connection point. Being top of mind for any and all stakeholders will accelerate your name to the top of the stack and prompt these leaders to reference your business when having discussions about the future with young, potential future hires.
Building a pipeline of skilled workers is a challenging but worthwhile commitment to your company. If your business can offer an attractive package and promising future to the next generation, return on investment in middle- and high-school aged individuals is inevitable.