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Monday, July 28, 2014

PMA Chairman featured in U.S. News Story on Alleviating the Skills Gap

Jody Fledderman, Batesville Tool & Die President and PMA Chairman, was recently featured in a U.S. News & World Report story on how job training programs are helping manufacturers replace an aging workforce.

The article cites the results of a new Accenture study with the Manufacturing Institute on the skills gap in the U.S.  manufacturing sector.  The study referred to the growing skills gap as “storm clouds on the horizon that could indeed dampen growth” and showed that more than 75 percent of manufacturers surveyed reported a “moderate to severe” shortage of skilled workers.  At the same time, the survey pointed out that most companies surveyed plan to increase U.S. based production in the next five years.
Throughout the country, communities are beginning to recognize the opportunity to train individuals for these higher paying jobs.

And that is where PMA Chairman Jody Fledderman comes in.  He participates in a program in Batesville, OH that allows local businesses as well as the area community college and high school to collaborate in order to develop a new field of talent for jobs in manufacturing.
The program brings high school students, beginning their junior year, into a co-op program.  As they alternate between classes at the community college, the high school, and hands-on experience at a local manufacturing facilities, they develop the skills that businesses like Fledderman's need.
By graduation, Fledderman stated in the article, participants will be about one semester short of their associate degree, which, he said, is “more important to us than a four-year marketing degree or something like that. We have some of those needs, but the technical, associate degrees are 10 to 1 over what we need for a four-year degree.”
For Fledderman, the program in Batesville serves two goals: 1) teaching students industry skills they’ll use in their own careers, and 2) developing young workers with some experience for future employment.
"There’s a lot going in with retraining the existing workforce and that kind of stuff, but we wanted to concentrate more on having manufacturing being a first thought for kids when they’re getting out of high school versus an afterthought," he says in the article.
Read the full piece here.

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