Baby Boomers are retiring from their skilled trades jobs, causing the knowledge and skill sets they possess to leave the labor force.
In turn, 62% of employers are struggling to fill skilled trades positions, and an estimated 31 million positions will need to be filled around the U.S. by 2020! This is concerning for employers who are depending on Boomers to keep these vocational industries alive.
So what can we do to close the skills gap?
Partnering with educators to put training programs in place is one way to show the younger generation that skilled trades are in fact careers – not just jobs. An outstanding example of this type of program is San Antonio’s Alliance for Technology Education in Advanced Manufacturing. ATEAM is redefining skilled trades to youth and their parents and educators by creating clear paths to careers in manufacturing and industries alike. They implement career exploration and skills development programs, as well as partners with manufacturers in San Antonio to provide speakers and facility tours to create interest and enthusiasm for these career paths.
We also encourage employers to include Mentorship and Apprenticeship programs in employment opportunities. Hiring those with experience in positions like welding, industrial machinery mechanics, and machinists is going to become more and more difficult without creating opportunities for those interested in learning these skills from experts. This method can be mutually beneficial, giving employees the chance at a long-term career, while employers do not lose the workforce needed to maintain productivity.
To avoid the “war on talent” as the pool is getting smaller, let’s team up to think outside the box and narrow the gap between the current workforce and the need to fill positions in skilled trades!