APICS is the premier professional association for supply chain management.

Educating for the Future

by APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE | N/A 2011 | 0 | 0

It used to be the case that earning a college diploma meant you'd have a good shot at landing a good job. Somewhere along the line, the rules changed, and it's no longer that simple. While the recession has had a major impact, there certainly are many factors at play. What should we make of the fact that many companies report they have jobs available for the taking, but they have a shortage of qualified candidates? Why do today's applicants lack the skills needed for today's jobs? 

An opinion piece that ran last week in the Columbus Dispatch reiterates the situation in today's job market. Each day we are reminded by the fact that people cannot find work, yet some industries are in desperate need of talent. As the editors of the Dispatch write, "The National Association of Manufacturers reports that manufacturers are practically begging for workers such as machinists and assemblers. About 600,000 manufacturing jobs in the US are sitting open right now, and by 2018, as older workers retire, the number is expected to grow to 6.7 million job openings__ exceeding the estimated number of jobs available in other much-touted industries of the future."

Maybe it's that manufacturing and technical jobs require more and more specialized knowledge as technology continues to advance. Or perhaps young people simply are not being encouraged to pursue these fields. Whether this is due to stigmatization or the failure of these industries to create awareness is a complex topic, but it remains a fact that there are a substantial number of prospects for those who desire them.

The economy has shifted dramatically in just a few years__it's no surprise that many institutions are playing catch-up. And in the eyes of the article's authors, some of the burden for change rests on the education providers themselves. As the editorial continues, it is institutions like community colleges and technical schools that "deserve a lot of credit for staying connected to their local job markets and adapting so quickly."

Partners in professional development

At APICS, the Dispatch piece reminds us how critical education and workforce development are to our mission of building and validating knowledge in the field of operations and supply chain management. We aim to foster in young people an interest in our profession, and we ensure that individuals at all points in their careers have access to the level of training that will position them strongly in the new economy.

APICS channel partners are our primary means of making this all happen. We rely on these groups of dedicated volunteers__including chapters, international associates, and authorized education providers__to deliver our courseware and prepare candidates to take the APICS CPIM and CSCP exams. But they do so much more. They are equipped to tap into the needs of their communities and their membership. They keep operations and supply chain management professionals connected to each other and to employers. They have direct knowledge of the local job market.

Next year, make a resolution to become involved with your local APICS chapter or international group. Become an APICS member. Attend a professional development meeting, workshop, or seminar. Enroll in a certification preparation class or another educational opportunity. In 2012 and beyond, APICS will face the challenge of meeting the needs of the workforce in the new economy. And with the help of our channel partners, I believe we are up to that task. 

In other news

How APICS Operations Management Now relates to you

Operations management is everywhere. Today, operations management professionals have unprecedented impacts on the global economy. Consider these questions and how today's edition of APICS Operations Management Now relates to you and your career. 

  • What are the sources of the talent gap in manufacturing-related industries?
  • Are there nontraditional paths of education and training you would recommend to people just starting out in their careers?
  • Did you attend an educational or networking event at an APICS channel partner location this year? Will you attend one next year? 

All comments will be published pending approval. Read the APICS Comment Policy.


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