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Fast-Track Boot Camps Help Manufacturing Companies Solve Talent Shortage

Jill Monte - Content Specialist ·

Manufacturers are facing a dire employee shortage. While nearly every industry is being affected by the rapid retirement of the Baby Boomer generation and the reduced rate of Generation X and millennials entering the manufacturing workforce, the greatest risk the industry faces is failing to adapt. Some of the reasons for lack of adaption include: the low employment rate, skills gaps, and the inability to attract qualified workers.

Over the past three years, 480,000 manufacturing jobs were created across America, and more than 50 percent of U.S. manufacturing companies plan to increase production by more than five percent over the next five years according to The National Association of Manufacturers. Further, according to a study from the association and the consultancy firm Deloitte, an estimated 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled between now and 2028.

As the industry continues to strengthen and expand, companies need to be able to locate high-quality talent to fill vacant positions created by retiring boomers and economic expansion.

Manufacturers admit that the skills gap between the talent they need and the talent they can find continues to increase. It is crucial for manufacturers to address the skills gap through innovative offerings like cost-effective and fast-track manufacturing training boot camps.

Whether you are a jobseeker, an employer looking to hire boot camp graduates, a non-profit looking to develop a local training program, or a WDB or community agency looking to partner to run a boot camp, this article will direct you to the right resources.

What is a manufacturing boot camp?

A manufacturing boot camp is a fast-track, short-term training program that offers jobseekers training in workplace skills and techniques, while addressing skill gaps and helping prepare them for employment in the manufacturing industry. Boot camps are funded through workforce and community programs and grants that are targeted to eligible youth, adults, Veterans, returning citizens, and individuals with disabilities. Upon completing the boot camp, graduates earn OSHA 10 and other industry certifications that will qualify them for specialized employment opportunities and access to job placement and recruitment connections.

What makes a boot camp successful compared to a more traditional training program?

Manufacturing boot camps represent a “prepped for success” fast-track opportunity to launch a sustainable career in an industry that is growing rapidly. Participants will receive focused training during a 6-week program linked with opportunities to interview for entry-level positions in the manufacturing industry. Job coaching and supportive services are also ingrained into the curriculum for a well-rounded experience that leads to employment.

What does a typical boot camp curriculum look like?

Timeframe: typically 20 three-hour modules over 20 days, but modules can be stacked to reduce the duration.

Module topics: include a manufacturing industry overview, specific career pathways frameworks, a lattice exploration of manufacturing pathways, diversity and stereotypes in the industry, vocabulary, communication practices, and networking and professionalism.

Employer partnerships: inform our manufacturing curriculum, and involves gathering information from real manufacturing professionals in the industry such as what skills they seek in employees. This helps to ensure the bootcamp curriculum is attuned to the needs of actual employers. Real-world experts and scenarios such as guest speakers, one-on-one mentoring and facility tours are a big part of the program. Most importantly, the program typically offers a direct link to regional employers’ current job openings, internships or OJT opportunities.

Capstone project: consists of an employment portfolio with five components: a snapshot of their interests and abilities, a professional resume, an industry-specific cover letter, an outline of next steps and goals, and a written reflection of what they have learned.

Why are manufacturing boot camps a good option for jobseekers?

Manufacturing boot camps will meet the participant at any stage of their career path, even if they are just beginning their journey. By examining available training and certifications that participants may wish to pursue, the boot camp will provide extensive hands-on foundational and occupational skills, along with customized work readiness and career path information for those who are disconnected from traditional employment systems. Instruction is tailored to the participants’ needs, while incorporating contextualized learning and soft skills practice, and emphasizing the many jobs available in the broad arena of manufacturing.

Why are manufacturing boot camps a good option for employers?

Employers are recognizing manufacturing boot camps as a simple and effective way to find new employees with basic manufacturing skills. Because boot camps are developed to align with high-growth industries such as manufacturing, they are providing employers with a much-needed pipeline of employees with soft skills and a basic understanding of technical skills. Manufacturing boot camps also include OSHA-10 certification, which employers appreciate.

The boot camp curriculum also focuses on how to be a successful employee in the industry, reinforcing the importance of arriving to work on time, working as part of a team, and focusing on each team member’s role in the quality of the products produced.

What happens when a boot camp is completed?

The goals of the program are for all participants to demonstrate an increase in foundational skills, receive certification if applicable, and ultimately receive a job offer in a related field that leads to long-term employment. Boot camps are a great way to help strengthen the economy by providing employability skills to jobseekers preparing for an internship or employment in a job related to their career pathway.

How are boot camp participants measured for success?

Upon boot camp completion, a qualified instructor post-tests each student and reviews results against their initial assessments to validate training success. If additional training is needed, instructors may recommend repeating certain workshops or lessons to strengthen comprehension.

How do I learn more or find a local boot camp?

Boot camps are often organized by multiple stakeholders in a region who all share a common goal of helping to train and employ jobseekers. Some examples of common stakeholders who fund and organize boot camps include local workforce development boards, industry partnership organizations, local employers, local social service agencies, and industry-specific training providers. If you’re interested in organizing a boot camp or learning more, leave us a message below. :)