The Baby Boomers have long held a majority of the vocation careers within the United States, but as this age reaches retirement, a gap is forming in the labor pool. Younger generations have turned to careers outside of the manufacturing, construction, and engineering fields, leaving openings in these fields without enough talent to fill the positions.
The Cost of the Labor Gap
Many in the Baby Boomer generation are set to retire between the next five to 10 years. As they leave their trades, it is estimated the over $100 million a year will be lost by 32% of billion-dollar manufacturing industries. This equates to approximately 31 million positions that will be left without qualified skilled workers to fill them. Jobs are left open as assembly line workers, as a metal fabricator Houston TX, or roofing contractor.
The Price of Fixing the Problem
There are many ways to address the problem, though an instant fix isn’t going to be possible. For many companies, developing a partnership with educational institutions is a way to fill the need for both qualified employees and skill-specific training. Having students attend two-year college and trade schools for a specific skill but also having students complete internships at partnering institutions can lead to more well-rounded instruction in the unique aspects of their intended employment. Developing mentorships and apprenticeship programs at the company level are also ways to address the labor shortage.
The States Taking the Lead
There are three states who have gotten a jump on skilled trade training. In Georgia, the Quick Start program is a state-funded workforce initiative partnering with leading manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Kia, and NCR. In Massachusetts, the Custom Machine program turns out 12 graduates every eight weeks into the manufacturing industry. Ohio Strong inspires youngsters to pursue vocational training as a career choice.
With these initiatives and many more, the trade labor gap can be filled. Vocational work offers job security and plenty of opportunities.