Are we facing the end of the “train and pray” era? Thomas Perez, the US secretary of labor, thinks it’s time, and I agree. So does Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel. In a September 12 article for Inc., Greenblatt urges training__and some new thinking__for manufacturing jobs in order to fill the skills gap.
“Educators must talk more to job creators to learn their needs and to design training that is demand driven,” he writes. “Employers, meanwhile, need to get more active in public-private partnerships focused on job skills. The return on investment for these programs must be made clear to all.”
Greenblatt knows something about training workers. He also knows something about running a successful company. Maybe you remember reading about him in a June edition of APICS Operations Management Now? With investment in staff education and smart machines, Greenblatt turned a failing bagel basket company into a specialized manufacturer that uses design and engineering. In 2012, company sales were more than $5 million.
Now he’s got his sights set on so-called soft skills. He describes how Perez reacted to the term at a recent roundtable discussion: “Let’s change that to essential skills,” the secretary requested.
Greenblatt brings the soft-skills point home by writing that they “are essential to the experience you provide to your customer and critical for the success and survival of every business, no matter its size.”
However, Greenblatt doesn’t stop there. He emphasizes the need for better alignment between community colleges and industry certifications to make candidates more “job ready.” He touts the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) manufacturing skills certification system, a variety of credentials that are nationally portable and industry recognized. APICS is proud to be a part of this NAM system that “validates both the ‘book smarts’ and the ‘street smarts’ needed to be productive and successful on the job.”
Making productivity count
Consider the definition of APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) as it appears in the APICS Operations Management Body of Knowledge Framework: “The supply chain is a fragile, dynamic entity, and managing its various links requires a broad understanding of its unique constraints. Procurement, manufacturing, and logistics, among other disciplines, all are woven together by technology. Speed to the market is enabled by the real-time exchange of information among widely separated partners. Demystifying these complex relationships is the goal of the CSCP educational program.”
You can see why the push for skills gap education relies so heavily on certification programs. They are the link between “book smarts” and “street smarts.” APICS has numerous resources to support you throughout your certification journey. Visit http://www.apics.org/certification to learn more.
Maybe you are just getting started in this field. APICS offers its Principles of Operations Management program, which has five customizable courses that are classroom-based and instructor-led for individuals new to materials and operations management.
Whether you are a new professional or a company decision maker, APICS has resources that can help you meet important needs in today’s multifaceted business world.