The Technical and Health Education Department of Carl Sandburg College held a breakfast for local business, manufacturing and education professionals to discuss the five year outlook in the manufacturing field.
“This was the first time I’ve been at a meeting where we had that whole continuum together at the table so that K-12 could hear what the industry needed,” said Julie Gibb, Carl Sandburg Vice President of Academic Services. “We could hear what industry needed, and more importantly, we could all talk together to see how we could meet those needs and what was feasible and realistic to meet those needs.”
The consensus seemed to be that today’s skilled workers need training in basic manufacturing principles, production, drafting and technology; in addition, workers need basic math, written, verbal, and “soft skills,” or employability skills.
Carl Sandburg College teaches students employability skills. They take a look at the expectations of the employer, starting with how to prepare a resume and how to interview; how to dress appropriately for an interview; the importance of calling in absent and/or late; and the importance of being on time, explained Lauri White, Dean of Career, Technical and Health Education.
Gibb and White further explained that teaching employability skills is important in the contemporary job market, because traditional apprenticeships are almost nonexistent, and because youngsters no longer learn manufacturing skills from watching or working alongside their parents in family businesses.
Gibb said both the manufacturing sector and educators play a role in preparing the next generation of skilled workers. Plans for another meeting in October include inviting area legislators to join the discussion.