West Shore Community College’s Manufacturing Technologies Open Entry/Open Exit (OE/OE) program is among 30 programs throughout the bi-national Great Lakes region that has been nominated for recognition by the Great Lakes Manufacturing Council as a benchmark for its Talented Workforce Initiative. All of them will be recognized on June 12, in Detroit at “The Big M” event celebrating the resurgence of manufacturing and four will be presented with top awards.
“It is a truly impressive list of nominees and proof that educators and trainers are striving to meet the demands of a manufacturing sector rapidly transforming into knowledge-based enterprises,” said Ed Wolking, Jr., President of the Council.
The College’s OE/OE courses are a self-paced educational alternative to traditional classes. The courses are in module format and offered to those who can master learning material and learned competencies without traditional classroom instruction. The learning modules in electrical-electronic systems, precision machine technologies, mechatronics, and mechanical systems, are designed for disciplined students allowing them greater control over their learning schedules.
The Council created its Talented Workforce Initiative to identify the most imaginative and effective solutions for building the region’s pool of manufacturing talent. The goal of the Council’s far-ranging outreach is to share the best ideas and approaches for resolving a critical workforce shortage issue that threatens nearly all manufacturers and communities in the bi-national Great Lakes economy.
The 30 Great Lakes nominations included programs in cities in seven states and two provinces, as well as four U.S. and Canadian national programs. Characteristics of the successful and promising initiatives included their ability to recruit or attract talented workers, train or educate new workers, retrain incumbent workers, and retrain displaced workers.
Skills shortages are one of the primary challenges facing many manufacturers. Manufacturing is the cornerstone of the Great Lakes economy and is important to its success. Manufacturing makes the Great Lakes trading area home to the world’s fourth largest economy, with a combined annual output of nearly $6 trillion.
The Council has also been supporting the widespread adoption of the Manufacturing Skill Standards Certification process designed to lead to a higher-skilled, more productive workforce.
“These programs represent the breadth of initiatives to meet the looming workforce crisis in communities throughout the region,” Wolking continued. “They can serve as beacons for programs throughout the region.” To help spread the knowledge these programs provide, the Council will host a reception and best practices workshop after the awards presentation.
Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Communications & Community Engagement