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Educators, Students and Parents Need More Info on Career Opportunities

March 2020

Mo

Tours like this were one suggestion following a recent CEO Roundtable sponsored by EDC affiliate the Northland Education and Business Alliance. The meeting looked at ways to better share information on local careers in advanced manufacturing with educators, students and parents.

Tours of advanced manufacturing plants for teachers, counselors and students is one idea that came out of a recent CEO Roundtable sponsored by the Northland Education and Business Alliance (NEBA).

Held Feb. 4 at iWerx in Gladstone, the dialogue of area business leaders is part of a series of meetings planned to examine ways to support the growth in key industries for Clay County and the Northland.

Missed Opportunities?

Much of this meeting focused on better communicating the impressive opportunities offered by modern advanced manufacturing – including thousands of jobs in Clay County and the Northland.

“Workplaces are changing, and we need to address the misconceptions on what manufacturing today really is,” explained Jeff Pinkerton, senior researcher for the Mid-America Regional Council and one of the event moderators.

Equally important, parents, educators and students need to learn what’s available. “A lot of employers offer externships and tours,” Pinkerton noted. “They want to get parents and students in to see what manufacturing really looks like today. And these jobs are very competitive with what parents often think is as ‘good’ jobs, like medicine or law.”

More Dialogue Coming

Jim Hampton, former EDC executive director, said findings and follow-up action from the Feb. 4 event will be discussed at a NEBA meeting March 2.

“It was a really good discussion about what those businesses need,” he said of the February roundtable. “There was a lot of talk about workforce and demand. We’re seeing that a lot of young people, and their parents, don’t understand that there are good careers in manufacturing that aren’t really well known.” Several roundtable participants suggested that tours might help show the complexity of modern manufacturing equipment.

Another, much discussed. issue involved soft skills, work skills that are often the same at every job, like showing up on time, ready to work. “That’s still an issue,” Pinkerton said. “One question is, where does that get instilled? In school? At home? There’s an argument for both, but the lack of those skills is something employers are concerned about.”

Along with advanced manufacturing, other areas to be discussed include healthcare, leisure and entertainment, as well as IT and digital technologies. For additional information, contact the EDC at (816) 468-4989.


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