The Manufacturing Skills Challenge & Goodwin College

Yesterday, I represented Horst Engineering at a Manufacturing Leaders Breakfast at Goodwin College in East Hartford, Connecticut. It’s so great to call Goodwin a neighbor in this community. Every time I visit, some new construction project is underway. The place just oozes growth. The vision of Goodwin’s President, Mark Scheinberg, is inspirational. He is combining his natural entrepreneurial instincts with his businessman acumen and his acquired knowledge of the education field. Even better, he surrounds himself with bright people who “get” his strategy. It’s fantastic.

2013_Goodwin College Manufacturing Program Launch 9

I’ve written about the manufacturing skills challenge many times. Connecticut and the rest of New England have hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs for decades. The entire country has suffered this fate, but since the bottom of the recession, there has been a rebound, particularly in the high technology manufacturing sector. Connecticut remains a loser because while other states (e.g. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana) have had sharp rebounds, we have continued to lose jobs to lower cost regions of the country (e.g. the southeast) and to other parts of the world. Our legislators are blind to the fact that our policies are preventing us from capitalizing on one of our greatest strengths. We already have a high technology manufacturing sector anchored by our aerospace industry expertise and built-in cluster. The sector is dominated by small and mid-sized businesses, which are the engines of our economy. Little is being done to secure that base. An opportunity is being squandered.

What a shame! This problem is so old, it’s growing mold. Manufacturing leaders have been screaming about a skills shortage forever. We are all anticipating the exodus of thousands of skilled workers to retirement in the next 10 years. The base of labor built on the baby boom is going to go bust and little has been done to train the next generation of manufacturing workers. Kids just aren’t exposed to manufacturing. I grew up around a machine shop, but I still was exposed to the “industrial arts” as early as 6th grade. The middle school and high school in our town had a wood shop. We had a metal shop. They taught drafting. We made stuff.

2013_Goodwin College Manufacturing Program Launch 4

Dr. Clifford Thermer, Goodwin’s Assistant VP of Strategy and Development, reminded us that what children see on television, “Lawyers, doctors, and cops,” is what they think a good job is. The media have glorified these careers while marginalizing manufacturing jobs to the fringe. You have to seek out cool shows about manufacturing technology, and sadly, most focus on the products, and not the people. Well, you can’t make stuff, especially high quality stuff, without human input.

So, enter Goodwin College. I’ve spoken and written about the failed attempts to turn the tide. So many government, quasi-government, and non-profit organizations have tried to solve the skills problem. They have tried to organize the private sector, marshal resources, and navigate the bureaucracy. But, it hasn’t worked. It doesn’t mean that they haven’t made progress. They just haven’t produced results in any volume. Those of us running manufacturing businesses are so busy trying to survive in a high cost environment, we can only devote a fraction of our time to the workforce development issue. It’s a huge problem. So, now Goodwin has entered the fray. That’s a good thing.

2013_Goodwin College Manufacturing Program Launch 2

The Goodwin team have already shaken up other sectors. They are cranking out nurses. They are re-training folks. They are teaching business in a unique way. They are succeeding in other areas too. They are even building magnet high schools in attempt to secure their own pipeline of students to matriculate into their higher education programs. Goodwin is not one of those $60,000/year private schools with dorms that rival Manhattan lofts and dining services that are Zagat rated. The school is a practical place to get an education, often while you are working. They teach skills. The student demographic is different, but it is what we need in a world of overpriced higher education.

Bravo to Goodwin for taking on the manufacturing skills challenge. The launch is based around the concept of accreditation. I almost passed out when they said they were going to introduce the “European style” of apprenticeship/journeyman programs. Still popular in the construction trades, that model died in Connecticut in the early 1980’s. It WAS as American model for decades. That is how my uncle Steven learned. That is how several of our longtime key associates learned. When the U.S. gave up on manufacturing, so did the education world. Everyone is supposed to go to college…and do what?! When we get 600 applications for a low paying clerical office job opening and no applications for a high paying skilled machinist job opening, what does that say about the qualifications of the workforce? What does it say about the stigma attached to manufacturing?

2013_Goodwin College Manufacturing Program Launch 5

Even the state of Sonora, Mexico gets it. Horst Engineering operates a maquiladora in Guaymas. Sonora. They covet high-tech manufacturing jobs, particularly in the aerospace and medical industries. They have trade schools with technician certification and they expose kids to manufacturing at a young age. The manufacturing resurgence is a huge part of Mexico’s comeback. Yet, while we have grown in Mexico, we have also grown in Connecticut, but it has been painfully hard to do it without a pipeline of trained workers. Horst’s workforce is multi-cultural, which is a good thing. Our founder, was a German immigrant. He understood the European system. You earned your place at the skills table. You just didn’t arrive there and command the pay and respect. You climbed the skills ladder.

Goodwin has developed a strategy. They plan to train manufacturing managers. They plan to offer mentor/mentee training because the private sector is full of incumbent workers without formal educator skills. They will offer web-based training and simulation. They will develop partnerships with the same government, quasi-government, and non-profit organizations that I mentioned. More importantly, they will develop partnerships with the private sector. That is why I crossed town to participate in the kickoff session. It may have been postponed twice because of our crazy snow-filled winter, but that doesn’t matter, I’m rooting for them to make this work.

2013_Goodwin College Manufacturing Program Launch 7

Some past posts on the topic of manufacturing skills and workforce development:

https://scottlivingston.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/lean-and-green-next-generation-careers-in-technology/

https://scottlivingston.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/dream-it-do-it-and-jobs/

https://scottlivingston.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/jobs-and-stuff/

https://scottlivingston.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/2012-acm-workforce-development-fair-trade-show/

 

2 Responses to “The Manufacturing Skills Challenge & Goodwin College”



  1. 1 axzz3AlU7y3PY Trackback on 20 August 2014 at 9:41 pm
  2. 2 axzz3AliYoinY Trackback on 21 August 2014 at 4:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

Horst Spikes

Instagram

Two days of #crawfordnotch views sandwiched with @appalachianmountainclub meeting. Cycling on Rt. 302, #trailrunning on the Crawford Path, and Mount Willard. #newhampshire 🚴🏽🏃🏻⛰ Sites and sounds from Day 2 @gpgloucester #gpgloucester The fog was burning off by the end of the Cub Juniors 9-14 year old race.

#horstspikes #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross #horstengineering #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #madeinconnecticut #madeinnewengland #madeinusa 🇺🇸 It was great to see so many friends at today’s Western #Massachusetts Athletic Club Monroe (Dunbar Brook) Trail Race. We all ran the 2-Miler. We couldn’t stay long after the finish, but we did see Kelsey Allen win overall in the 10.5 Mile main event. Hooray! #trailrunning 🏃🏻 Before and after the Western #Massachusetts Athletic Club’s Monroe (Dunbar Brook) Trail Race in the #Berkshires I rode (very wet) over from Savoy Mountain State Forest where we camped last night. On the ride along the #DeerfieldRiver I checked out #ZoarGap and then we walked down to the river to see the Tooth. Sadly, the kayakers had already passed through. The foliage turned overnight. #trailrunning #cycling 🚴🏽🏃🏻⛰ #Cyclocross racing in the morning and downhill #mountainbiking @thundermountainbikepark in the afternoon. We got in two late afternoon runs on rental bikes and are pumped to return for more fun in the future. #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #thundermountainbikepark #berkshireeast 🚵‍♀️⛰ 30 kids in the 9-12 year old Race at the #mansfieldhollow #Cyclocross That’s just awesome! @the_ccap #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #crossspikes #crossisboss This image was from pregame, but approaching halftime @uconnfootball there aren’t many more fans than you see here. 35 (Memphis ) to 21 (UCONN) is a lot of points in 30 minutes of #football #uconn This morning I got to hear Warren Rustand, inspirational entrepreneur and fellow @ypoglobal member, speak at a #ypo Connecticut River Valley Chapter meeting. It was fitting that the event was @riverfrontrecapture and literally ON the #connecticutriver I walked from @horsteng via my favorite train bridge. The 10 minute trip back to the plant was ample time to reflect on the #leadership lessons that he shared with our group. @garyrome and I decided that we should memorialize our time with this dedicated athlete, by requesting that he join our photo. #horstengineering #business Fantastic but FRUSTRATING race at The Night Weasels Cometh #cyclocross Was charging hard but punctured with two to go and rode 3/4ths of a lap on my rear flat before getting to my pit bike. I just glued this tubular two nights ago. Grrrr! Gave up more than a dozen spots. This string of bad luck will end and my fitness will pay off. Still not a bad ending to a work day. Onward! #teamhorstsports #crossspikes #nightweasels 🚴🏽 🌕

Follow me on Twitter

Categories

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 284 other followers


%d bloggers like this: