New Research on California's Skills Gap Unveiled at PMA Member Facility

On May 29, 2014, business leaders, education officials, and community members gathered at PMA member Walker Corporation’s manufacturing facility to announce the release of a new research report by ReadyNation/America’s Edge. The report comes in response to employer concerns about California’s growing skills gap and the need to fill high-skilled positions.

Michael Bermudez, Vice President and General Manager of Walker Corporation spoke to the need for finding candidates with “good problem-solving skills and basic understanding of how to provide leadership on the manufacturing room.” Additionally, Bermudez shared that many companies are finding difficulty in filling high-skilled positions due to a work-force with limited education.

The report, entitled “Fortifying the Inland Empire’s Talent Pipeline: Closing our “Skills Gaps” through Linked Learning,” suggests that, by 2020, over 66 percent of jobs created in California will require formal education beyond high school. Recognizing the importance of educating K-12 students, the leaders spoke out in support of regional education reform efforts with the goal of teaching students the skills needed for higher level manufacturing positions.

According to the day's presentations, one of the most successful reforms seen so far is the Linked Learning program, which provides “career academy” pathways for approximately 200 students who stay together as a cohort throughout the duration of high school. Organizers say the cohort model helps inspire teamwork and develop 21st-century skills including effective communication and critical thinking skills.

Throughout California, presenters noted, Linked Learning career pathways are being tailored to regional hiring, but a large amount of growth is already projected in the manufacturing sector. By 2017, San Bernardino School District hopes to have all 49,000 of its students in career pathways, leading the way to a new generation of educated young people who can help to advance the manufacturing industry.

Click here to explore the report released by Ready Nation/America’s Edge about the future of jobs and education in California.

And here are some photos from the event -


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