Workforce Development

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin believes in strengthening West Virginia's small businesses and securing new investments to generate jobs. All businesses understand the importance of a well-trained workforce, and West Virginia is working hard to ensure industry has access to the high-tech resources and the highly skilled workers they need.

Oakland County is projected to have large job growth over the next three years. By 2017, the manufacturing sector will grow by 7 percent while unemployment in Oakland County will fall below 5 percent. Oakland Community College’s Chancellor says the future of college is to provide talent that serves the community. OCC is already working towards that future by providing students with resources to define their career and academic goals.

GE Appliances hosted the first Greater Louisville Manufacturing Workforce Development Day at Appliance Park. The event highlighted GE's challenges with the lack of qualified manufacturing workforce to fill entry-level positions. GE partnered with KentuckianaWorks to develop a certified production technician program to help combat the worker shortage. But GE isn't alone, numerous Louisville manufacturers are facing the same worker shortage issues.

Honda has plans to fund a workforce development initiative based in Ohio. The goal being to spark interest and provide training in the manufacturing field. The program, called EPIC, will be aimed at middle school, high school, and college students to help combat the growing number of unfilled manufacturing jobs.

In 2014, Nissan North America and Tennessee partnered to build an education training center in Smyrna. This education center will operate as an extension of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Murfreesboro campus. The center aims to develop skilled workers for Nissan's Tennessee manufacturing operations and will offer advanced manufacturing training. It is scheduled to open in late 2016 and will be more than 150,000 square feet.

Spartanburg Community College's Cherokee County campus was awarded a grant worth more than $600,000. The grant will be used to meet automotive workforce development needs, train advanced manufacturing technicians, and purchase training equipment and computers. Check out the Event Photos!

The South Carolina Technical College System was recently awarded $5 million by the U.S. Department of Labor to help expand apprenticeship programs throughout the state. The grant is designed to increase the number of manufacturing internships and increase access to education. Spartanburg Community College expects to receive $60,000 to $70,000 but could get more depending on how many businesses in the surrounding counties participate.

The number of available jobs in South Carolina is growing, but there aren't enough skilled workers to fill them. Spartanburg Community College is changing that by showing potential and current students that manufacturing is a good career path. The school's efforts are paying off too. According to Jay Coffer, Chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Department, student enrollment is the highest he's seen in his 27 years. Those students are becoming problem solvers, not just button pushers; acquiring the skill set sought job hunters from around the state.

The skills gap is a hot topic. Many employers realize the need for specialized middle skill workers, but have no pool to pull from. In Michigan, there will be 228,000 STEM-related jobs by 2018 and the workforce is not currently growing to fill them. To help combat this issue, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has approved grant funding for community colleges; Henry Ford College and Oakland Community College among them. Other initiatives are also aiming to bridge the skills gap, including the STEM Careers and Skilled Trades Task Force, Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program, and Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2).

Pellissippi State Community College partnered with Keurig Green Mountain Inc. to train Keurig employees how to install, troubleshoot and maintain industrial electrical systems. The workforce development program, based on Pellissippi State’s Electric Systems Technology certificate, is serving as a model for similar partnerships Keurig Green Mountain is launching across the United States. Employees completing the program earn credits towards an Associate’s degree.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that employers are looking for workers to fill new kinds of middle-skill jobs. Jobs in the fields of healthcare, information technology, and advanced manufacturing. To prepare workers for these new middle-skill jobs, employers and the U.S. educational system must invest in skill-building. Harry Holzer, an Economic Studies Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution outlines three new policies that may help:

  1. Provide more resources and incentives to public colleges.
  2. Expand apprenticeship programs along with other career and technical education.
  3. Incentivize employers to create more jobs.

Chicagoland Manufacturing, an initiative in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2015 budget, looks to place workers in 1,000 open manufacturing jobs. The initiative focuses on three areas of need: raising awareness of manufacturing jobs in the City’s and the region’s manufacturing sector; increasing capacity at existing workforce organizations; and facilitating coordination of a thousand Jobs for Chicagoland Manufacturing-branded web portals.

Research conducted by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) showed that the current rate of global gross domestic product growth is set to decline by 40% over the next 50 years. To reverse this decline, an acceleration in productivity growth is necessary.


Boosting the productivity of services sectors is particularly vital given that they employ more than 75% of non-agricultural workers today and that this share is growing.


MGI identified retail, health care, and technology as liberalized and competitive sectors that could help drive this boost. For example, moving to e-commerce, where labor productivity is more than 80% higher than modern brick-and-mortar retailers.

The advanced manufacturing sector is thirsting for workers who have math and technical skills. New Jersey's Brookdale Community College is quenching that need with an innovative new program that retrains jobless workers to be productive in today's manufacturing workplace.


Programs, like Brookdale's, are popular, as students improve their skills and become more valuable to an employer. The manufacturing industry requires technical skills that weren't needed 28 years ago.


The class began Nov. 13 and lasts until March, when the trailer will go to its next stop. Funded by a U.S. Labor Department grant and developed by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development and community colleges, it solves a major problem: How can cash-strapped colleges keep up with fast-changing – and expensive – technology?


"Every community college cannot commit to a $140,000 capital investment to serve manufacturing training needs," said Dominic Latorraca, Brookdale's director of career training.

When it comes to middle-skills jobs in the United States -- those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree -- there is a misalignment in the overall system that should move a potential employee smoothly from a relevant educational program to a good job.


What can be done? The report contends that closing the middle-skills gap will depend on actions that go beyond simply improving the efficiency of today’s system. Rather, the focus must be on developing a new middle-skills ecosystem that provides employers sufficient access to talent with the skills to fill competitively important jobs. Coordinated work among employers, educators and policymakers will be essential.

Training America’s workers with the skills they need for a good job can help middle class families and help American businesses grow our economy. While America’s businesses have created 10 million jobs over the past 54 months, the longest streak of uninterrupted job growth in our country’s history, more needs to be done to train Americans with the skills they need, and connect them with businesses that are looking for skilled workers.


Building on the strategies advanced in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, $450 million in job-driven training grants are going to nearly 270 community colleges across the country. The funding is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program, which is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education.  The ultimate goal is helping job seekers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs in industries like information technology, health care, energy, and advanced manufacturing.

A Business Roundtable / Change the Equation survey, conducted in December 2014, asked 126 CEOs about U.S. STEM skills. Almost 98 percent of them said the skills gap threatens their businesses.


According to the survey, approximately 60 percent of job openings require basic literacy in science, technology, engineering and math and 42 percent require advanced STEM knowledge.  However, 38 percent of the CEOs said at least half of their entry-level applicants lack basic STEM literacy, and 28 percent said at least half of new entry-level hires lack basic STEM literacy.


A shortage of adequately skilled workers in the U.S. is a problem faced by most companies and could compromise the country's economic competitiveness if left unaddressed. Fortifying a strong pipeline to funnel skilled workers into U.S. companies, business leaders say, should begin as early as grade school.

Across the U.S., by 2017, an estimated 2.5 million new so-called "middle-skill" jobs - ones that require some training but not a bachelor's degree - will be added to the workforce, according to a recent USA Today analysis.  The jobs typically pay $13 to $20 an hour in all sorts of areas of what used to be known as blue-collar endeavors.


In Oakland County, north of Detroit, where many automakers, suppliers, and affiliated companies conduct and are expanding research, product development, and engineering operations, there will be nearly 60,000 new skilled-trades jobs and other high-demand occupations, through 2019, that require less than a four-year college degree.


"The baby-boomers are starting to age out of the workforce," notes Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

Only about 20% of manufacturing jobs now are unskilled positions any able-bodied worker can fill. The rest require vocational training, an associate’s degree or certifications.  Working with the computerized equipment in many factories requires an understanding of algebra and the ability to do basic computations. A dependable, drug-free high-school grad might earn $10 to $15 per hour at an entry-level manufacturing job, with pay rising along with more experience and on-the-job training. But pay will obviously be higher still for workers who show up with specialized training or certifications.

10 Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers to receive award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  This includes centers in Texas, Michigan, Virginia, and Tennessee.  The MEP centers help small and mid-sized manufacturers create and retain jobs.

The Metropolitan Statistical Areas reported that between April 2010 and April 2014 most manufacturing jobs added were either major metropolitan areas and/or located in the Upper Midwest.  The number one metro area in terms of manufacturing jobs added during this period was none other than Detroit, which has added 46,100 manufacturing jobs over the past four years, representing a 25 percent increase.

Among the nation’s 333 Metropolitan Statistical Areas with available data, the manufacturing sector added 428,000 jobs from April 2010 to April 2014, representing 70 percent of the total national increase in manufacturing employment.


The number one metro area in terms of manufacturing jobs added during this period was Detroit, adding more than 46,100 manufacturing jobs over the past four year, representing a 25 percent increase.

Policymakers are interested in matching worker skills with industry sectors important to their communities, and many of the efforts put into place during the legislative sessions focus on building long-term relationships between industry and higher education.


Proposed legislation aims to reduce the skills gap through scholarships, grants, loan forgiveness, and internships.

To increase investment and create jobs, in September 2013 the Obama Administration launched the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) – an initiative to spur communities to develop integrated, long-term economic development strategies that strengthen their competitive edge in attracting global manufacturers and their supply chains to our local communities.


For instance, the thirteen counties of Southeastern Michigan that produce 22% of all vehicles made in America account for over 70% of total U.S. auto research investment. One such initiative led by their Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine is building on its strengths in connected-vehicle technologies. These technologies include allowing cars to communicate with each other and the road in order to carry their passengers more safely and efficiently to their destinations.

The Tennessee Valley DRIVE meeting held at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) drew leaders from across the region. One main point of discussion was how to capture funding from the $1.3 billion in federal economic assistance available through the 2013 Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program. DRIVE leaders and partners hope to win grants that can strengthen the auto industry through academic, government, and industry collaboration.

By 2017, an estimated 2.5 million new, middle-skill jobs are expected to be added to the workforce, accounting for nearly 40% of all job growth, according to a USA TODAY analysis of local data from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and CareerBuilder.


As American companies have found that moving jobs offshore was not a good approach for production that requires highly skilled labor, re-shoring is producing better paying technician jobs back in the States.


But that means more training, given that nearly 80% of the new blue-collar jobs require some training, but far less school than a bachelor's degree.  Community and technical colleges are trying to fill the gap by enrolling young adults who either drop out of a four-year college or can't find a job after graduation.

According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the manufacturing sector accounts for about two-thirds of all private research and development in the U.S., and it is also important to innovation and national security. More importantly, a manufacturing job is able to support other jobs in the community.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803) was passed, with bipartisan support, through both Chambers of Congress and awaits the President's signature.  The legislation was designed to close the skills gap, make graduates more employable, and fill new types of manufacturing jobs.

The Pathways to Progress initiative gives low-income youth opportunities to build their career readiness skills:  from helping young people obtain meaningful summer jobs and financial literacy education, to establishing youth-focused entrepreneurship camps in 10 cities.

There’s a common perception that American manufacturing is in decline. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, a shortage of qualified workers is holding American manufacturing back. An aptitude for mathematics and technology are in demand for these skilled trade positions; skills that can be acquired through obtaining certificates and two-year college degrees.

By 2020, Millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans. By 2025 it's estimated they will make up as much as 75% of the workforce. Understanding the generation’s values offers a window into the future of corporate America.

Manufacturing has begun to bounce back since total employment bottomed out in 2010. There are now about 12.1 million manufacturing workers in the United States, with some forecasters expecting a broader resurgence due to low U.S. energy costs, rising labor rates in other countries and the higher skill levels required to work with robots and computers.


Approximately 80% of today’s manufacturing jobs require vocational training, an associate’s degree or certifications.  Job shortages include welders, electricians, machinists, press operators, and metalworkers.

From April 2010 to April 2014, Detroit ranked number one for adding new manufacturing jobs with 46,100, a 25% increase.

"Aligning Education with Employer Needs"

Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (M-SAMC)

5101 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128

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This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership.

*AMTEC is supported entirely by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technology Education (ATE) Program Grant (0903193). (AMTEC,NSF ATE DUE-0903193)