The National Association of Manufacturers and the Bureau of Labor Statistics have identified a need for several million qualified manufacturing employees over the next decade. Sounds like good news for people looking for a job, right? Unfortunately, there is a catch. The industry anticipates being able to only hire about one-third of these new workers needed, creating a huge employment gap which will likely increase labor costs.
Proactive manufacturers have begun to address this looming concern by tapping into 5 resources nearly all businesses have readily available to them at little to no cost:
- Your current employees, as recruiters;
- Local community colleges, trade, and technical schools;
- Local Veterans’ organizations;
- Local high school industrial arts programs (shop classes); and,
- Correctional institutions, working with formerly incarcerated persons
If you want to close your employment gap and continue to grow your business you need to search everywhere for qualified manufacturing employees. Leaving no stone unturned and fully utilizing these resources will give you access to the workers you need.
Your Current Employees
There is no better resource available to you than your current workforce. Your employees know your company’s values, culture, how things work, and represent the best recruiting tool available to you. Create an enticing incentive program, designed to encourage your employees to recommend those they know who can contribute to the further success of the company. You’ll likely see an instant increase in applications and create a win-win for you and your employees. They’ll recommend those most likely to succeed at the company and you make your employees a partner in that success.
Local Community Colleges, Trade, and Technical Schools
If you have not already done so, strike up a partnership with several of your area community colleges, trade, and technical schools. There are more than 1,100 of these institutions across the country, with an enrollment of 7.1 million as of Fall 2017. The likelihood of finding the qualified manufacturing employees your company needs is strong when tapping this resource. Getting to these students early - oftentimes before they even graduate - not only gives them peace of mind knowing they have job security, but it can also box out your competition.
The Veterans Administration Department puts out these numbers on the men and women who actively or formerly served our great country:
- There are 1.3 million active Servicemembers in the Armed Forces, including Marines and Coast Guard. Another 800,000 in the Reserves.
- There are 20 million Veterans in the U.S., many of whom are actively seeking employment.
- There are an estimated 50,000 homeless Veterans looking for opportunities and wanting to make a meaningful contribution to society.
If there is a VFW or American Legion post in your area (there is!), chances are there are Veterans who know of someone interested in applying their skills as your employee. When you actively engage these organizations, you will not only find qualified manufacturing employees, chances are you’ll be able to provide an opportunity to someone who’s wanting to continue to serve.
High School Industrial Arts Programs (Shop Classes)
A less traveled road, but one which holds great opportunity, are high school students who take industrial arts classes. Many high schools across the country offer vocational training in everything from auto body and vehicle repair to woodworking, sheet metal, and electrical. You know college is not always the right fit for everyone, but an opportunity to work for your company straight from high school may be the perfect career path for some.
Prison Vocational Programs
Choosing to work with a local correctional facility requires a huge leap of faith. It may not be the best resource for all manufacturers, particularly those involved in secure or sensitive industries. But for many manufacturers, giving a chance to a person who has paid their debt to society may be an appropriate way to find qualified employees who otherwise go unnoticed. When deciding to work with this population, it is important to have policies and procedures in place to ensure a safe environment for all workers. You may also want to consider putting a wellness monitoring program in place for the people you choose to hire to increase the odds of their successful return to a productive life.
The best thing about these resources for locating qualified manufacturing employees is that they cost you virtually nothing to engage. Simply reach out to an institution, teacher, organization, or mentor and let them know you have opportunities available for that person, and they just may become your next best employee!
For more on how your manufacturing firm can shift focus from the 20% of plan costs that are fixed to the 80% of variable expenses that are being ignored, download your free copy of DCW Group’s Ebook, The Definitive Guide to Health and Benefit Plans for Manufacturing Companies: Control Costs by Managing Your Healthcare Supply Chain.