The Benefits of Co-Ops for Students & Businesses
As we have seen in the past couple of years, the employment shortage has grown. With manufacturing being the 5th largest employer in the United States, you wouldn't think that the industry is struggling to find skilled people willing to work. I could go on about all the impacts of the pandemic on workers, but we have to start looking for creative ways to fix this gap as well as come up with solutions to the problem at hand.
Over the past couple of months, myself included have been trying to find skilled workers to fill the gaps within the business. Usually, you make it to scheduling a date and time and are left with no response. After my not-so-successful attempts to fill this role, we have to take a look at the industry as a whole.
Manufacturing is a craft and is something that is learned over time. So your most skilled and seasoned machinist or set-up machinist is probably not as hip and happening as a 20-year-old ready to start his or her career.
In the Predictive Index Article, it states that “Approximately 22% of existing skilled manufacturing workers will be retiring by the end of 2025 and there could be as many as two million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2025.”
Learning firsthand the difficulties of hiring made me think there has to be another way where we can get workers in either temporary or permanent positions. Co-Ops are our new hope.
Trade schools, also known as vocational technology schools offer programs where students can attend high school classes and also get hands-on experience in the field they want to go into. For example some of the career programs offered at a local vocational tech school to us, Tri-County include:
Automotive Technology, Carpentry, Computer Information Systems, Cosmetology,
Culinary Arts, Dental Assisting, Electrical Wiring Technology, Metal Fabrication, and much more.
This way students are able to apply their knowledge and what they have learned in class and shop and use it outside of school. Not only does this benefit the student, but also benefits your business. This Co-Op leaves the door open if the student wants to continue his or her job with your company.
“One-third (32%) of Gen Z has had manufacturing suggested to them as a career option, as compared to only 18% of Millennials and 13% of the general population”(www.industryweek.com).
Our Team Member
Shannon, our team member here at Swiss Technologies of New England & Stone Medical works in Quality Control and Expediting graduated from a vocational-technical school and says “going to a vocational tech school gave me a leg up in the industry. One I couldn’t get at a normal high school. Plus senior year we have the opportunity to do Co-Ops and roughly 50% of us did them and you get to make money while in school, who doesn’t love that?”
Shannon also mentions that attending a vocational tech school instead of a town high school gave her the opportunity to meet new people, which helped her expand her network.