Report says local industries key to job-training programs

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For companies that are having trouble filling blue-collar jobs, effective training programs appear to need coordination with local industries in order to work.

An article last week in the New York Times Magazine lays out a picture familiar to the boating industry — a population of under- and unemployed working-class adults for whom well-paying work seems increasingly out of reach — versus boat manufacturers and dealers, who say they can’t find good people to fill the thousands of open jobs they have.

The article explores how job-training programs can effectively bridge the gap with a mix of labor, industry and government coordination.

A 2015 report from the Manufacturing Institute found that seven in 10 manufacturing executives said they faced shortages of workers with adequate tech skills. A high proportion of existing skilled workers is also nearing retirement, which means a bigger gap is looming soon.

By 2025, the report warned, 2 million jobs will be going unfilled.

A program in advanced composites manufacturing at Great Bay Community College in Rochester, N.H., operates out of a satellite campus that opened in 2013, with aid from a Labor Department grant meant to help community colleges reach “trade-displaced” workers who need help training for new careers, according to the article.

Great Bay’s composites program was developed in a close relationship with Safran Aerospace Composites and Albany Engineered Composites — two companies that opened a shared plant in Rochester in 2014.

Safran helped develop the program’s curriculum and stays in touch about which specializations the company will need in the coming months.

It guarantees interviews to all graduates of the program and has hired about 30 of the more than 170 participants so far. Overall, more than half of the program’s graduates have been hired by five large local manufacturers.

That level of coordination with local industry, ideally touching on everything from curriculum to recruitment, is now seen by policy experts as a crucial dividing line between programs that work and those that don’t.

The federal government now emphasizes this kind of “demand-driven” training, in part to ensure that workers aren’t being retrained with new skills as obsolete as their old ones.

“A good sign is if the program was co-developed with the firm,” Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, told the publication. “One of the fundamental problems is training divorced from labor-market dynamics — people being trained without the presence of jobs they could actually arrive in.”


3 comments on “Report says local industries key to job-training programs

  1. steve d'antonio

    This article should strike a chord with the entire industry. The marine industry is, and has been, in dire need of a nationwide, organized apprenticeship and formal training program for decades. The gap between required skills and those that are found in the trades is, in my experience, considerable and growing with the increasing sophistication of vessel systems. Manufacturers are partly to blame, they continue to introduce more and more complex systems, while giving little or inadequate thought to support and training for those who will install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair them. When a practicing marine “electrician” is unable to define the difference between series and parallel, or when he can’t identify why it’s problematic when an inductive amp clamp measures several amps of current flow on an intact shore power cord (actual examples), it’s a clear indication of inadequate training. Incompetence like this drives boaters to golf and other leisure pursuits. A rigorous apprenticeship program, like those in Australia, New Zealand and the UK would almost entirely resolve this problem. The models exist, we don’t need to reinvent them. Forget about the TPPA, spearheading an apprenticeship program would be a worthy pursuit for the NMMA.

  2. Scott Wiliams

    THINK AUTO INDUSTRY, and how a technician can earn a living as a service writer, mechanic or tech. Then “think” marine industry, and how does that change? If you become a service writer or auto tech, you know what you can earn… try that with a boat dealer. LOL.

    And there is the problem!

    Go to any dealer, with certified Merc/Yamaha training, and how much can the tech expect to start of at? I’ll bet its barely “livable” wages.

    The marine industry is 20 years behind in everything. Marketing? Joke. Advertising? Non-existant. Look at this TradeOnly website…seriously? it’s from the late 90’s. It’s not even up to date on its look, marketing, emails, etc.

  3. Stephanie Riotto

    Thank you for featuring us in your article!

    We are proud to offer training in the high demand fields of Advanced Composites, Non-Destructive Testing and CNC at the Advanced Technology and Academic Center of Great Bay Community College. For more information on programs and career opportunities or to subscribe to our newsletter, contact Stephanie Riotto, Admissions Representative at or 603-427-7789.

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