Creating the Workforce of the Future in Manufacturing

Why Worry About the Future Workforce?

The shortage of skilled workers is hindering the growth of American manufacturers – and the shortage is expected to continue for years into the future.

  • Currently, there are nearly 600,000 manufacturing jobs that cannot be filled due to the shortage of qualified workers. Deloitte & Manufacturing Institute, 2010-2011
  • Two of every three manufacturers (67%) have a “moderate to severe” shortage of qualified workers – and 56% expect the shortage to become more severe over the next 3-5 years. Deloitte & Manufacturing Institute, 2010-2011
  • Nearly one-third of America’s current manufacturing workforce is at or near retirement age. Carl Sandburg College Report
  • The manufacturer worker pipeline is insufficient, leading many companies to “import” workers through the H1-B worker visa program. CNN Money Report, 2012
  • By 2020, the national skilled worker shortage is projected to be 22 million. The Hudson Institute

Making the Connection

Why do we need CAREER READINESS initiatives? – It’s simple. For the U.S. to compete in a global economy where technology is changing at nearly the speed of light, we need to have a better-prepared workforce. To gain a better prepared workforce, we need to get students thinking about careers at an early age.

What does career awareness do? – By getting students to discuss the types of jobs that are in the world today, they also gain an understanding of what type of education they need. Students become more motivated in school, earn better grades and in effect, see a light at the end of their education tunnel.

How can local businesses and industries help? – The best way for students to learn about career opportunities is to explore today’s job market. By seeing what skills are needed for the jobs that are in their area of interest, only then will they be able to judge whether it is something they would like to pursue.

How can schools and parents help? – Students need to be encouraged to explore different career options at an early age. Schools need to incorporate career awareness into the curriculum at all grade levels and provide teachers with the opportunity to learn about workforce needs.

The NEPIRC Career  Readiness Program Highlights

Youth Apprenticeship – High School Juniors and Seniors are recruited to participate in an on-the-job program that gives them worksite experience and a day’s wage. Selected students report to work at the business 8-16 hours a week. A mentor oversees their work. Progress is tracked through a training plan.

Keystone Automation Discusses the Youth Apprentice Program

Job Shadowing – Allows students to gain a better understanding of various careers by “shadowing” a professional in their day-to-day work activities. Students participate in ½ to 1 day visits to local businesses to help them make the connection between what is learned in the classroom and skills needed on-the-job.

Educator in the Workplace – Educators are presented with the opportunity to learn about careers and skills necessary to enter today’s high performance workplace. Programs range from tours of local industries to several days of hands-on experience.

Business Professional in the Classroom – Classroom based program where business professionals address students’ questions regarding their career or industry. The class is divided into small groups to facilitate discussion.

Rachel’s Challenge – Focuses on creating a culture of kindness and compassion at participating schools by directly addressing the issues of isolation, prejudice and bullying. The program was developed by the family of Rachel Joy Scott, the first student killed in the Columbine tragedy. Trained facilitators provide the program.

Career Fairs – Formalized efforts to inform students about career opportunities. May center on a specific topic (i.e. Energy Careers) or a broad base of professions. Career professionals present information to students in the school setting.

Career Awareness Activities – Classroom presentations designed to enhance students’ awareness of career opportunities and increase student knowledge of job acquisition strategies.


Your School District – Develops active involvement with the community Enhances school instruction thru the integration of student knowledge within an industry Receives valuable current input from industry regarding local labor market conditions Meets PA Academic Standards for Career Education and Work

Your Students – Earns a wage while learning from a skilled professional Tries on a career for size Realizes how education is linked to work skills

The Employer – Creates an awareness of workforce development needs Increases school and community interaction Reduces turnover and increases retention


For more information about the Career Readiness Program contact: Kathleen J Bolinski LSW, Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator • 570-704-0025 Email:

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