Check Out

News A pipeline of skilled workers

According to a recent Allegheny Conference on Community Development study, our region will need to fill 340,000 jobs over the next 10 years. But the study also found that given this projected growth, we could face a shortage of 80,000 workers, and many of these jobs could go unfilled in the next decade simply because younger workers lack the necessary skills to immediately step into these positions.

Learn More

BotsIQ Engaging the next generation

Learn MoreBotsIQ is a Southwestern Pennsylvania workforce development initiative that began at Hamill in 2006 when representatives from local companies, workforce development agencies, schools, training facilities and colleges met to plan a way to interest young people in manufacturing.  We were all well aware of the growing shortage of skilled workers in America and wanted to do something about it. An all-volunteer Southwestern Pennsylvania group took that concept and fashioned it into BotsIQ, an initiative to generate interest among high school students in the STEM-related subjects of science, technology, engineering and math and to build awareness of our local manufacturing industries.

About BotsIQ

Learn MoreThe goal of BotsIQ is to ensure every student in Southwestern Pennsylvania understands, explores, and considers manufacturing as a viable career option. We believe providing an exciting, hands-on experience through business/education partnerships can help build the current and future workforce needed by the manufacturing industry.

Attracting a new generation of employees first means changing outdated pre-conceptions about the industry. Many of this new generation visualizes a picture of manufacturing that involves only outdated industrial age equipment. They do not realize the technological advancements that have been made in manufacturing. Manufacturers also must do more than promote the "coolness" of today's technologies. They need to communicate the educational requirements for succeeding in manufacturing careers, so that students can understand the skills they will need. 
The manufacturing industry today is facing many challenges due to a decreasing workforce. Thousands of an aging generation of manufacturing employees will be retiring with little population to choose from to fill their shoes. This retiring workforce is reaching a critical point at which they need to be training their replacements as to pass on the years of knowledge and experience they have acquired over their careers. This is a complex challenge that won't be solved by one simple solution. However, efforts have been made to develop strategies to attract, engage, develop and retain the crucial team members that will be central to driving manufacturing businesses forward. These strategies include:
  • Updating outdated pre-conceptions about the industry
  • Initiatives to engage with the community from manufacturers
  • Broaden the potential talent pool by looking at possible older age groups
  • Investing heavily in internships
  • Engage new empoloyees with a variety of work
  • Build cross-generational teams in order to pass on expertise
  • Using modern recording technology to help transfer of knowledge
Most manufacturing companies have noticed a talent shortage in the manufacturing sector. The more pressing issue is that in addition to the current shortage there is a long term issue confronting manufacturers. The skills gap is widening, and 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will be needed, while only about 60 percent of those jobs are likely to be filled. This gap in available workers is likely to cause a shortfall of 2 million workers over the next decade.
Many industries, not just the manufacturing industry, are feeling the talent crunch. Technical and computer skills are topping the list when it comes to a demonstrated lack of proficiency in industry. One of the major concerns, however, was the survey that indicates a majority of employees lack sufficient basic employable skills and the ability to work well in a team environment. Due to the increasingly technical nature of manufacturing work, the skills gap comes into even more clear focus. Despite the push for more automated production lines, the demand for skilled work has not disappeared. 
The major challenges with finding recruits for manufacturing jobs range from finding qualified personel to retaining the current workforce. Employers claim the the largest hurdle to overcome when looking for skilled production workers was finding candidates who pass the screening and/or probationary period. Although the demand for STEM workers is still high, the interest from high school students in the STEM programs has begun to diminish. 
Manufacturers have a significant role in solving the manufacturing skills gap. Manufacturing companies must improve their ability not only to find skilled employees, but also to develop and deploy their workforce to meet their business goals. Developing high-potential employees and creating more flexibility can increase the supply of talent within a company's walls. However, manufacturing companies cannot do it alone: manufacturers are part of a larger ecosystem of players the must work together to solve the skills gap.
With the immediate and ongoing need for more manufacturing employees, the entire industry needs to begin taking action to fill these spots. There are many incentives to attract young people to look for a career in manufacturing, such as higher pay rates, more adaptive technological advances, and job security. 

Career Opportunities Apprenticeships and Internships

Manufacturers and communities must stand together to poise the industry as a viable career option by improving the overall image of manufacturing. The U.S. federal and state governments must also continue and increase their focus on improving the education system and business must do their part to support the effort. Hamill has been a participant and leader in this area, we strive to provide apprenticeships and internships to improve the attitude towards the manufacturing background.