In 1995, Dr. Kenneth Gray, encouraged parents, workforce professionals, and educators to dispel the “One Way to Win” myth in life (i.e.—earning a baccalaureate degree). There is value in preparing people for both strong “middle-skills” careers right out of high school and for college. The dated paradigm of a bachelor’s degree equating success and security is diminishing in our modern economy. A career trained, academically prepared student graduating from high school today has the advantage of establishing a viable career, earning a livable wage, and pursuing continued education (a college degree) as a working professional, advancing not only their professional goals, but the quality of their lives. This same strategy works just as well for adults in career transition. With over two decades passing since Dr. Gray's landmark study, what was once a skills gap between our nation's precision manufacturers and workforce has become a chasm. Compounding this issue, our nation's largest workforce population is nearing retirement.
According to a recent press release by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, "The Pittsburgh region’s workforce will undergo a complete and dramatic transformation due to worker retirements, economic growth and occupational transitions." They also mention that 22% of our region’s workforce is 55 or older and nearing retirement. As if that isn’t sobering enough, a report supporting the skills gap in precision manufacturing from Burning Glass, a leading labor market analyst, suggests that skilled production roles (CNC, CAD, CAM) are among the most difficult for employers to fill—taking most Pennsylvania precision manufacturing companies an average of 33 days from position posting to hire. Many middle-skilled positions are highly technical in nature and are nearly impossible to fill without those who possess the proper training.
Since the mid-1990's, the University of Pittsburgh's Manufacturing Assistance Center has been working to bridge the gap between area precision manufacturers and individuals seeking better career opportunities. To compete, to thrive, and to succeed, our precision manufacturers will need more skilled employees. The MAC will do its part and is here to help train the skilled professionals who will close the skills gap and stand ready to move our region’s manufacturing into a new generation.
The MAC is working to address the critical shortage of trained machinists by going out into the community to reach new streams of interested students.
Career fairs, group presentations, and school field trips provide us with the opportunity to connect with potential students. We work with CareerLink/CareerTrack Centers in Western PA, area high schools, Veterans programs, youth employment programs, and special interest groups to reach a diverse and talented group of potential students who might not otherwise hear about the fantastic career path opportunities available to them in manufacturing.
If you and your organization are interested in hosting an outreach event, simply contact the
MAC's Marketing and Outreach
department for more details.