Manufacturers learn about training resources


By Gary Schenkel



Leaders of local manufacturing companies learned at a recent meeting in Urbana about resources that can help them grow their operations, reduce costs and train employees in skills needed in today’s technologically advanced manufacturing environment.

They attended the Business Leaders Roundtable hosted by the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP), Clark State Community College and FASTLANE – West Central Ohio’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which helps manufacturers grow, create jobs and become more innovative.

At the meeting, CEP Director Marcia Bailey thanked partners like Clark State, FASTLANE and the Champaign County Manufacturers Human Resources Council for working together to help solve the skilled manufacturing workforce shortage.

And she pointed to encouraging signs that manufacturing is growing in Champaign County:

· Manufacturing employment increased by more than 1,000 jobs from 2013 to 2017 – from 2,928 to 4,029.

· The greatest rise in manufacturing employment is in the 19- to 24-year-old age group, which accounted for 9 percent of the local manufacturing workforce in 2017 – up from just 3 percent in 2017. This represents 300 jobs.

· Women make up a growing portion of the local manufacturing workforce – at 28 percent in 2017, compared to 26 percent the year before.

· The concentration of manufacturing jobs in Champaign County – based on population – is 4.15 times the national average.

Phil Ratermann and Mary Miller of FASTLANE said their organization’s team of specialized manufacturing and engineering consultants advise small and medium-sized manufacturers in ways to accelerate growth and profitability, including:

· Continuous improvement

· Business planning and management

· Sustainability

· Supply chain development

· Workforce development and training

· Technology acceleration

Lesli Beavers, director of Workforce and Business Solutions for Clark State Community College, said that Clark State offers a variety of programs to prepare students and current manufacturing workforce. These include:

· Advanced manufacturing certificates

· A “build your own” Manufacturing Engineering Technologies Associate Degree

· A Bachelor of Applied Science in Manufacturing Technology Management, beginning in fall 2019

· 10-week noncredit FastTrack Manufacturing Training in entry-level employment skills such as blueprint reading, lathe and milling operations, welding basics, forklift operations and WorkKeys career readiness certification testing

· Customized on-site training in skills such as blueprint reading, welding, supervision and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing

Beavers added that Clark State students are available for co-ops and internships with local manufacturers. And she encouraged manufacturers to post their job openings with Clark State and to search the student and alumni resume database for job candidates.

By Gary Schenkel

Submitted by the Champaign Economic Partnership.

Submitted by the Champaign Economic Partnership.