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EMPLOYERS MUST LEAD IN FILLING SKILLS GAP, NEW ANALYSIS SHOWS // FEBRUARY 2019

A new feasibility analysis has researched the best work-based learning models from around the world to address the skilled worker shortage and organized the key components into a system that can be adopted by any state.

The analysis, best practices, recommendations report, and model, called Ability-Driven Vocational And Navigable Competency Education, or ADVANCE, resulted from a partnership between Thomas P. Miller & Associates and the Indiana Manufacturers Association. The IMA requested a model that encompassed the most effective approaches globally, including Germany and Switzerland and their vaunted apprenticeship programs. The request was prompted by a lack of talent due to the perfect storm of baby-boomer retirements, technological advances, and misalignment of education with the needs of manufacturing.

Thomas P. Miller & Associates is also doing work with the Ohio Manufacturers Association as it looks to address the worker shortage by expanding sector partnerships and apprenticeships in Ohio.

One overriding finding emerged from the data analysis and extensive interviews conducted by TPMA: Results improve dramatically when industry leads. Government-led initiatives tend to be spotty in quality and commitment, and the few successful local or regional partnerships depend heavily on a few champions, like a plant manager and school superintendent, and are therefore difficult to replicate.

Companies must market themselves in a community and promote the quality jobs available in manufacturing. Employers should direct the curriculum and program design with support from engaged educators.

The analysis also found that European-style apprenticeships would be extremely difficult to implement in the United States. Overcoming the stigma of apprenticeships vs. the bachelor’s degree career track favored in the U.S. would require many years of education and marketing—and even then might fail.

The ADVANCE model developed for IMA resulted in the organization becoming the governing body in Indiana for the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME). The ADVANCE model is designed to help students learn skills faster and more holistically through competency-based education and creating more defined and accelerated pathways that incorporate work-based learning. Again, led by industry.

To learn more about the findings and the ADVANCE model, contact TPMA!