ADDRESSING MANUFACTURING LABOR SHORTAGES BY INVESTING IN STUDENTS
At MPE, we are invested in building future leaders, and we are proud to work with our community high schools, technical colleges, and universities to identify students that have a strong desire to take the knowledge they are receiving in the classroom and translate it into real-world, practical experience.
Part of this investment we are making into students is our partnership with GPS Education Partners (GPSed), where high school students can redefine their academic success by hands-on learning and fostering purpose in building skillsets in life-manufacturing settings.
According to Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the forecast of skilled trade positions in manufacturing through 2028 is showing a gap of 2.4 million unfilled jobs. And while this startling number speaks to a growing challenge for the industry, we are focusing on what we love.
And we love speaking to students about manufacturing. Manufacturing is as a thriving and stable industry and it has way more potential for becoming a rewarding career than many give it credit for. A lot of the common misperceptions surrounding manufacturing employment, such as dirty and unsafe work environments, low wages, and overseas offshoring are now a thing of the past. Most manufacturing facilities are a far different picture.
As an example, the pandemic and supply chain crises have created more onshoring of U.S. jobs and wage gains are at their highest levels in 40 years with most in the labor force seeing average wage increases over 5% year over year.
Manufacturing careers such as at MPE can also be very rewarding work. MPE employees work on a diverse product catalog, ranging from surgical navigation systems and maternity ward bassinets to infant ultrasound imaging devices. The work being done here truly impacts the lives of others, and our employees know that.
Redefining Career Development Through Student Engagement
The benefits of programs such as GSP to the student, the school, and the employer are countless in many regards. Personally, I had the opportunity to work in manufacturing as a college student on the shop floor and as an intern.
In school, while most of my classmates were learning different academic theories or principles, I was receiving a hybrid school and work experience because I was able to connect those theories and applications in a real-life work learning environment being on the job. As a Vice President of Operations overseeing 3 facilities, this experience has definitely made a difference in my career.
Work-based learning also provides the foundation for solid life skills. Getting up early every morning, spending a large part of the day in school, and then going to work for the rest of the day is an exceptional way to prepare students for their future. Practicing these life skills enables a strong work ethic, sound decision-making, self-awareness, financial discipline, problem-solving, and the ability to cope with the many challenges that life brings along the way.
Work-based learning expedites the journey of instituting these life skills which will lead to a lifetime of personal responsibility and independence.
Developing the Next Generation of Manufacturing Workers
With a labor market under this much duress, MPE has been lucky to find partners such as GPSed who can help fill staffing opportunities. Here are some recent student program successes:
- Two students graduated in May 0f 2022 after being in the GPSed program.
- Two additional GPSed graduates are now currently continuing to work as part-time interns.
- One individual, hired in 2019 worked part-time as he pursued his weld engineering associate’s degree. He was promoted in 2021 to a fabrication process engineering intern. As of May 2022, he graduated and has been hired as a full-time Fabrication Process Engineer.
We are looking to further our partnership with GPSed for the remainder of the year and beyond. In fact, we are continuing to invest in the future generation of manufacturing workers. This year we opened an education center to host 20-25 students on MPE premises starting in the Fall School year.
And finally, to all of the graduating 2022 GPS high school class, I will leave you with a famous quote from visionary Walt Disney. “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”.