The skilled tradespeople working in today’s manufacturing sector have a lot going for them. They have interesting, innovation-driven careers that offer good pay, longevity and skills development that provides security as well as advancement opportunities.
But here’s the issue: there are too few electricians, machinists, welders and others to meet the demand of the thriving manufacturing sector here in the Lincoln Trail region and across the country.
The demand for skilled workers is expected to grow, presenting even more opportunity for present and future job seekers. At the national level, a study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte found that baby boomer retirements and the industry’s economic expansion will create 3.4 million openings between 2015 and 2025.
As Manager of Human Resources at JoyGlobal in Lebanon and a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, I am often asked about what it takes to succeed in a skilled occupation.
First, to be successful in any career, you have to go into a field you love. Skilled tradespeople are no exception, and that’s why a technical aptitude – whether it’s mechanical, electrical or hydraulic – is critical for success.
Often, new employees who don’t have directly related work experience or training flourish on the job because of their proclivity for hands-on technical projects. That’s one reason I always ask prospective employees about their hobbies during interviews. A person who enjoys spending time running a farm or making their own vehicle repairs is someone likely to succeed in a skilled trade.
Secondly, successful workers bring strong basic skills like math and reading comprehension to the workplace. The importance of these skills can’t be overestimated, and employees who can read blue prints or effectively comprehend written instructions, for example, are vital to a manufacturer’s success.
In addition, those foundational skills must be paired with soft skills such as a commitment to attendance and the ability to work in a team environment.
Experienced, skilled workers are of immeasurable value in today’s workforce. If a prospective employee, however, lacks the exact skill set but offers a technical aptitude and strong basic skills, JoyGlobal, as well as many other companies in our region, is willing to invest in their training and appropriate certifications. The “grow your own” approach to narrowing the skills gap has created incredible opportunities, such as apprenticeships, for employees.
At the same time, we want job seekers throughout our communities to consider the skilled trades as potential careers. JoyGlobal has opportunities for electricians, manual machinists, CNC machinists, members of our large motor rebuild team as well as machinists apprentices. During our career fair, set for March 23 at our Lebanon facility, we’ll take candidates to the production floor, allowing them to take in the activity and determine if it interests them. Job seekers can learn more about these opportunities at https://careers.joyglobal.com.
At our Lebanon facility, we’re manufacturing underground mining equipment, and we depend on our team to ensure every piece of equipment is exactly what our customers need when it arrives at a mine for coal, salt or another mineral. With that in mind, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the sense of pride offered in skilled trades. In any given industry, these talented individuals truly are the people behind the products vital to our businesses and our everyday lives.
If you or someone you know is interested in starting or advancing a technical career, I encourage you to learn more about the opportunities in this region. You can start by contacting the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, which works closely with employers and provides a full suite of free services to job seekers.
Mary Cambron is Manger of Human Resources at JoyGlobal in Lebanon and is a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. The Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board oversees employment and training programs in an eight-county region that includes Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties. She can be reached at email@example.com.