By: Jon L. Kinning, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
The national unemployment rate is at a shocking low of 4.4% due to growth in the manufacturing, construction, professional and technical services, health care and mining industries in 2017. This statistic indicates that the country’s economy is healthy with increased production, more jobs, steady consumer spending and less government involvement, making it hard for people to recognize the strain so many companies are currently facing due to the shortage of skilled trades employees.
Businesses in the manufacturing and construction industries have more open positions for plumbers, pipefitters, welders, electricians, technicians than qualified candidates to fill them. In fact, the skilled trades is currently the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff, and the gap is expected to widen. Following are three reasons leading to the gap between open positions and available employees:
Vocational schools offer students a fast-tracked career path, typically two- or four-year programs, into a high demand career without student loans. Apprenticeship programs, like the RK Apprenticeship Program, offer students training in plumbing, pipefitting, HVAC, sheetmetal, ironwork, electrical and structural fabrication while working as a full-time employee with benefits and opportunities for advancement – plus, apprentices can earn up to 45 credit hours towards an Associates in Applied Sciences (A.A.S.).
RK knows that you cannot build a business off of buying talent and believes that we must attract and train the next generation of skilled labor through work-based learning not only for our own success, but also for the future success of the manufacturing and construction industries. We continue to make significant investments in training and developing our talent pool through in-house training programs and by raising awareness. Check out our free whitepaper on the Swiss Apprenticeship model and see how RK is incorporating similar practices.