PlastiCert is located in a small farming community, yet a close drive to four universities and colleges as well as numerous high schools. When it comes to acquiring and maintaining a workforce that allows us to be successful, both those facts play into a theme.
We provide diversity to a small community that is heavily agriculture oriented, but we use that as a theme to develop and grow our workforce. PlastiCert uses these facilities and resources around us plant a presence that I call “seeds” with the result of having an influence on obtaining the work force we require as we grow.
We participate in volunteer opportunities at many of these facilities looking for both company exposure as well as provide insight as to why:
- Manufacturing has a place in the local economy and what it is we provide
- Careers in manufacturing are more rewarding, both pay and work duty wise, than others
- Manufacturing offers many more career paths than most occupations
- Technology continues to improve the manufacturing workplace and its opportunities
The list goes on.
A perfect example of having influence and laying seeds is a recent curriculum advisory board meeting at a local high school. That evening discussion was how to provide relevant programming and allow students to sign up for classes they want to take. In reviewing the classes required for graduation (at this high school, over and above the state requirements), talk turned to removing some required classes and Industrial Technology Education was one of them. The board is predominately educators and a couple lay people. I vehemently interjected saying that high school is a place for kids to explore possible career interests. Not exposing them to the industrial/manufacturing aspects of hands on work with tools and equipment was a step toward handicapping their future options. In spite of being a farm community, many students just do not get exposure to the basics of how things are made and how they work.
Bottom line, as a manufacturer, get your staff involved in the educational institutions in your area. Raise the level of awareness of you, manufacturing, and the opportunities you offer. In addition, work to preserve those educational opportunities that plug into the skill sets us as manufacturers are looking for. They may not seem so relevant to those non-manufacturing people providing input.
Decisions are made by those that show up.