The skills gap continues to grow throughout North America, but this is creating new employment opportunities for those who pursue the right training programs.
The manufacturing industry has evolved considerably over the years. As industrial machinery becomes more complex, the need for people who can maintain, repair and operate these systems grows. Unfortunately, there are not many people who are prepared to fill these positions. This ultimately hurts the North American economy because it can slow these industrial operations.
However, there is a silver lining. These positions can lead to strong careers down the road, and they are readily available to anyone who has the proper skills – the key is being able to cultivate these them.
A mindset shift
Writing for the Financial Post, Tom Turpin of Randstad Canada explained that part of the reason there is such a skills gap in Canada is that skilled trades are generally ill-perceived. Turpin indicates that in a study conducted by his company, over 75 percent of people viewed these positions and less respectable and old-fashioned compared to white collar work.
However, this train of thought could mean that potential workers are losing out on thousands of dollars. Skilled trades pay between $40,000 per year to over $100,000.
"A shift in perception is critical: it must begin with families and educators and include governments and organizations," Turpin wrote. "Without it, the country runs the risk of being part of a cycle in which the skills gaps are never filled. Anything less than this will result in a lack of workers needed to drive the economy and maintain the infrastructure that supports every generation."
Finding the right training
The skills gap problem is not specific to Canada. In the U.S. there is a shortage of industrial workers as well, which is prompting governments and organizations in both countries to invest in training programs.
One example of this can be seen in a federal grant that was awarded to North Central State College. The $2.9 million grant will help train 250 workers that live and work in the region for advanced manufacturing positions, according to the Mansfield News Journal.
One of the biggest benefits of the program will be the increase in wages for its participants. The news source noted that there would be a $6 million salary payback between each participant if they got their certificate and landed a job.
By pursuing the proper training and using strong tools, today's industrial workers can take advantage of these emerging employment opportunities.