Introducing the Youth to Manufacturing through Apprenticeships
Posted by Michael S. on November 13, 2017 in Manufacturer Focus

If you own a manufacturing company, you are probably aware of the lack of skilled labor in the industry. It might even be one of those things that keeps you up at night, with your mind working overtime trying to solve the skills gap issues for your business.


Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to solve the lack of skilled workers. As new jobs are created elsewhere in our economy, the pool of skilled workers is vanishing. But there are options—including apprenticeships.


Apprenticeships played an important role in the industrial revolution, providing skilled craftsmen to meet the growing demands for skills and product. Apprenticeships also played a hand in helping the U.S. meet the demand for a skilled industrial workforce as the economy grew rapidly after the end of World War II. 


Somewhere along the way, apprenticeship participation fell off. Many thought computer-aided machining and automation would replace the need for highly skilled workers. Although automation did reduce the need for some skills, as more complex automation is implemented and many baby boomers retire, we are experiencing a skill gap that needs to be addressed. Forecasters believe as many as 2 million skilled jobs will be unfilled by 2025. Apprenticeships could be a big part of the answer to this huge gap within our workforce.


Starting an apprenticeship program doesn’t have to be difficult. The United States Department of Labor (US DOL) Bureau of Apprenticeship provides tools and resources to help you get started. Check out the DOL website on apprenticeship.


In addition to traditional apprenticeship programs, many states have school-to-work programs or youth apprenticeships. These programs allow qualified high school students to work part time in an industry, basically getting a head start on a traditional apprenticeship program. They are also a great way for students to explore a future career and for employers to see how the potential employee fits their company and its culture.


Apprenticeships not only beef up the skilled labor force, but also provide a great opportunity for employers to give back to their local communities by providing good paying jobs and skills.   

Michael S. is our Manufacturing guru
I have over 30 years experience in a broad range of manufacturing areas. Starting with an apprenticeship in Germany I’ve worked my way through a variety of positions within the manufacturing field. I got my start as a Tool and Die maker. I next became a supervisor of a class A tool room, then manager of a machining department. I was exposed to lean manufacturing in the mid 90s and adapted the lean philosophy. Loving and teaching the lean approach, I moved on to become a Continuous Improvement manager which led to a job as a manufacturing manager. I joined Acuity in 2015 as their manufacturing expert. I hope to evolve how manufacturers deal with and think about insurance companies, as well as be a resource to my fellow employees – enabling them to better understand the unique needs of manufacturers.

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Posted By: Michael S. on June 13, 2018 in Manufacturer Focus
During my time in manufacturing, one of my top priorities was the safety of all our employees, as well as any visiting customers, vendors, and contractors. Safety was not only important to me, but to everyone at the plant. From the safety department and management to the employees on the floor, everyone understood safety was a priority.
Posted By: Michael S. on May 16, 2018 in Manufacturer Focus
I can still remember the first time I was asked by my manager to record the number of parts that were machined during a shift. I hopped up from my desk, grabbed a clipboard and pen, then went to the floor. I proudly walked from machine to machine asking how many parts were made.
Posted By: Michael S. on May 2, 2018 in Manufacturer Focus
The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing is a very real issue. As the baby boomer generation retires from manufacturing over the next 10 years, they will leave behind 2.7 million jobs that need to be filled. With these numbers, it may seem like a daunting task to prepare for the future, but it doesn’t have to be.