USA Today has an extensive article and video segment on Right Skills Now, the skilled workforce development program spearheaded by Darlene Miller of Permac Industries, in Burnsville, Minnesota.
Darlene is an elected vice president of PMPA and a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Effectiveness (PCJC).
“We can’t wait two years or four years,” for students to graduate college, says Darlene Miller, CEO of Permac Industries, a contract manufacturer in Burnsville, Minn., who promoted the idea for the program last year when she was unable to find seven CNC operators. “We need people now.”
Experts say the program could serve as a national model for employers needing skilled workers yesterday and many jobless Americans unable to spend two years earning an associate degrees.
A pipeline of skilled factory workers is sorely needed, especially with Baby Boomers retiring. A year ago, 600,000 skilled manufacturing jobs were unfilled, and 80% of manufacturers couldn’t find proficient workers, according to a survey by the institute and Deloitte.
“Our programs, especially Rights Skills Now, are generated by industry needs.” Deborah Kerrigan, Dunwoody College of Technology. “There is a huge need for skilled labor.”
The US has a shortage of engineers, a fact that certainly can be recognized as hindering competitiveness in a world focused on technological innovation.
The President’s Job Council, launched a private sector initiative called 10,000 Engineers, to address the stagnating graduation rate of engineers in U.S. Colleges.
Employer surveys we have seen indicate that science and engineering positions are the hardest jobs to fill.
In fact, it has been stated that there are three vacancies for every engineer currently graduating in the U.S.
Headed by Paul Otellini of Intel, the 10,000 Engineers program has already signed up 60 companies pledging to double their engineering internships in 2012. Nothing like a little time on task to build commitment to our exciting field of engineering. The internships represent an investment of about $70 million by the companies onboard.
Top Engineering universities are also developing a “Tech Standard Seal of Excellence” to recognize schools with the highest retention rates. (If you measure it- you can change the behavior.) The leading schools currently have very strong mentoring programs, examples for other schools to adopt.
The issue with engineering graduation rates turns out to be related to failure to retain aspiring students in university. Thirty five percent of students enrolled in science, math, and engineering programs leave them after the first year.
American engineers drive the innovations and technologies that improve our quality of life competitiveness and raise our standard of living. The PCJC’s 10,000 Engineers program is one way that the private sector has stepped up to help meet the challenge of having sufficient pool of engineering talent so that there will be new developments for our industry to make.