September 7, 2016

Last week’s news item in The Wall Street Journal tells a tale I’ve seen before:

“Amid growing anxiety about the disappearance of factory jobs, thousands of them are going unfilled across the U.S.

 The number of open manufacturing jobs has been rising since 2009, and this year stands at the highest level in 15 years, according to Labor Department data.

 Factory work has evolved over the past 15 years or so as companies have invested in advanced machinery requiring new sets of skills. Many workers who were laid off in recent decades—as technology, globalization and recession wiped out lower-skilled roles—don’t have the skills to do today’s jobs. The mismatch poses a growing problem for the economy, stymieing the ability of businesses to increase production and weighing on growth, executives say.  .  .  .”  (“As skill requirements increase, more manufacturing jobs go unfilled” by Anna Louie Sussman, for The Wall Street Journal)

Reminds me of the situation facing American Industry in the 1970’s when there was a great need for workers and an absence of trained individuals to fill those jobs.  In other words, there was no match.

According to the WSJ, we face that same scenario again.

Four decades ago, industry turned to Community Colleges to supply the needed training —- but, that partnership failed.

And, so, industry resolved to solve the challenge for itself by establishing internal training departments and turning to visual-based learning for answers.

And, that worked!

For the record, the solutions chosen in chronological order, were:  Videotape, Interactive Laser Videodisc (IVD), and, ultimately, CD-ROM.

Today’s shortage of qualified workers will probably follow a similar path.  And, if Community Colleges have learned their lesson, and no longer rely on the “lecture/reading/testing” model of instruction, they may perhaps solve the problem.

But, if they haven’t already accepted the fact that nearly half of the individuals who will need their training do not assimilate material written above a 4th grade reading level, they will once again fail.

And, if they haven’t evolved, industrial organizations will, again, need to address the solutions for themselves —- and, today, that means video-based e-Learning.

More on Monday –  –  –

         — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

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