A “How To” Case Study
As a student of – and believer in – Blue Collar, I’ve read lots about a growing gap between traditional blue collar skills – especially in manufacturing – and skills needed in today’s higher tech world (see “Related Posts” at the end of this post.)
There are many names for it, but they all mean the same thing: lots of people out of work while lots of people are looking for work.
Now I see a town which looks to me to be on the right track to solving the problem. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the town is right in the center of America and in the center of Blue Collar: Lafayette, Indiana.
WLFI TV in Lafayette reports that everything from automobiles, gears, engines and even truck trailers are being built right there in Lafayette. But even though there is a sea of manufacturing opportunities in that region of Indiana there is a major “skills gap.”
One of their solutions to this problem has been a collaborative effort between local business, government, and education: the city of Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, WorkOne, dozens of manufacturers and Ivy Tech. They call it the Advancing Manufacturing program – designed to match the right jobs with the best applicants.
To participate in the “Certified Production Technician” classes, applicants must pass a drug test, complete a basic skills test and complete an interview process. Then participants go through an eight-week program requiring 20 hours a week of classroom study at Ivy Tech.
And the best part: the education doesn’t cost anything more than time and dedication – the city and county provide full scholarship money to people who can’t afford to pay for the class at Ivy Tech.
And it looks like they are on the right track: in the six months of the program to date, 90 people have graduated from the program. Many of those students who have graduated have landed jobs at a local manufacturer. That’s what I call putting your money (and your brains) where the problem (and solution) is. Have you seen similar programs where you are?