New training programs across the country are being implemented to help close the skills gap in a number of industries, including health care manufacturing and high-tech.
In New York, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has announced that the Department of Labor has awarded Onondaga Community College a $1.2 million grant for a job training program to help students add skills to their resumes in 7 high-growth fields – advanced manufacturing, health care, design, renewable energy, business, entrepreneurship, hospitality and nanotechnology.One of the greatest challenges facing New York businesses is the skills gap, Schumer told the Syracuse Post-Standard. He added that the training program is “the perfect antidote” that business leaders requested. The announcement comes on top of an additional $14.6 million grant that will go to 23 State University of New York (SUNY) community colleges to help students boost their resumes with high-tech job training.Under the terms of the funding, at least 100 businesses will work with the schools to match workers with jobs in nantechnology, biosciences and advanced manufacturing.The New York initiatives are part of a growing trend to help states fill thousands of job openings.In Florida, St. Petersburg College (SPC) will also get a piece of the Labor Department’s pie – a $15 million grant that will go to a consortium of 12 community colleges to expand their training programs in advanced manufacturing.Despite a recent report that Florida is making significant progress in preparing its students for college and careers, many manufacturing companies say they are still having a difficult time finding workers with the right qualifications on their resumes to fill jobs that now require high-skilled certifications.Part of it is the industry has done a bad job of marketing itself as a career path, with parents discouraging their children to seek opportunities, Jennifer Behrens Schmidt, president of Atlantic Mold and Machining Corporation, told the Bradenton Herald. “Most of the workers in the field are getting old, they’re close to retirement, and there’s no replacements lined up.”Schmidt said training programs have failed to keep up with advances in the field.While making the announcement of the Florida grants, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis told a crowd gathered at SPC the funds will help the country compete in today’s challenging global economy.Many countries are vying for our technology and expertise, Solis noted “We are determined to put the United States back where it needs to be.”