Department of Labor Manufacturing Program

By: Thomas Cutler

ResourceMFG understands manufacturing professionals and provides excellent programs and productive employees; it delivers the right person with the right skills at the right time. The key to delivering better manufacturing employees lies in the fact that it is all that ResourceMFG does.

Just as the Department of Labor has sought to understand and implement industry-identified strategies to confront critical workforce challenges, ResourceMFG, the nation's leading manufacturing support organization has focused on the demands of the manufacturing sector to serve the needs of employees and customers. The foundation of ResourceMFG is a commitment to understanding the specialized needs of clients, employees, and the community, which provide the foundation for success. Like the manufacturers they represent there is a philosophy of continuous improvement. ResourceMFG is dedicated to improving programs, processes, training and people to meet the diverse needs of the US manufacturing sector. Also like the DOL, ResourceMFG has listened to employers, representatives from industry associations and labor-management organizations, and others associated with the advanced manufacturing industry regarding their efforts to identify challenges and implement effective workforce strategies.

The DOL identified workforce solutions based on the advanced manufacturing industry's priorities that address issues such as:
&bullTraining for Innovation: The capacity for innovation is the primary competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers in the global marketplace. Employers need workers who are continually focused on improving processes and products.
&bullPipeline Development: Too few young people consider manufacturing careers and often are unaware of the skills needed in an advanced manufacturing environment. Similarly, the K-12 system neither adequately imparts the necessary skills nor educates students on manufacturing career opportunities.
&bullCareer Awareness: Manufacturing confronts a negative public image, characterized by such phrases as "declining," "dirty," "low pay," etc. Consequently, too few highly skilled workers seriously consider manufacturing careers.
&bullImmigration: The manufacturing workforce is increasingly foreign-born, meaning that possessing adequate English language skills is becoming a prominent challenge. Employers have had difficulty finding English language programs that suit their needs.
&bullFoundational Skills and Competencies: Manufacturers experience difficulty finding and hiring workers with basic personal effectiveness, academic, workplace, and technical skills.
&bullSmall Business Issues: Many small- and medium-sized manufacturers do not have human resources departments and have little experience organizing training programs for their workers.
&bullIncumbent Worker Training: Manufacturers assert that rising health care and other costs limit the resources available for incumbent worker training. Furthermore, WIA imposes performance standards that often discourage incumbent worker training.
&bullTraining the Supply Chain: Manufacturers increasingly need integrated training programs for workers throughout the supply chain.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced a series of investments totaling more than $105 million to address the workforce needs of the advanced manufacturing industry. These investments result from forums which the U.S. Department of Labor hosted over the past three years with industry leaders, educators, and the public workforce system to identify the industry's hiring, training, and retention challenges.

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