Fall is just around the corner which means students will be going back to school soon. The question is, will you be prepared to engage with this future workforce? Many manufacturers have a good working relationship with their technical high schools and community colleges. However, we know that this group alone will not provide the volume of candidates that will be needed to help with the shortage of employees that manufacturers face. You need to be communicating with your comprehensive high schools as well.
There are a couple touch point opportunities that come to mind…
- School curriculums can be a means of connection – example: can someone from your company present on the day students are studying simple machines? This would be a great opportunity to show the evolution of manufacturing.
- Interactive experiences in the classroom – work with the teacher to create a hands-on learning experience to build something with the students – this could help to engage some students, outside the Tech Ed realm, who might not have seen themselves going into the manufacturing field previously.
- Interactive experiences like field trips to your facility or sponsor a trip to an innovation lab.
High school students can provide an immediate solution to the workforce shortage but you should start even sooner. Late elementary and early middle school is when the conversation about a career in manufacturing should begin. This is also when you can engage and educate the parents who often have a significant influence on the direction of that student.
Regardless of the education level you’re engaging with, it’s important to show your commitment to the community. This can be done by meeting with key contacts, supporting fundraisers, sponsoring and attending social events, or any other role to cultivate a symbiotic relationship. It is important to remember that working with school systems means being creative and reliably showing up for the most intentional events and support.
Having a specific plan to engage is very important. While school systems can be tough to navigate, being prepared can alleviate a lot of the stress and help programming happen. Teachers and school systems may not have an opportunity to reach out to businesses for programming that connects with curriculum. However, if you bring them a program that fits their curriculum, you will find them much more receptive to engaging with you and building a relationship.
The growing generation of creators and brilliant minds are everywhere. Short and long term investments in building your workforce can begin right in your own town. It’s critical to invest in a program that takes into consideration both the frequency with which you need to engage and the content needed to obtain the desired results. If interested in creating a plan to work with schools or learn more about how we assist manufacturers in Connecticut to be more successful, visit the Connecticut Manufacturers Resource group at ctmrg.com.