Bridging the Manufacturing Skills Gap in Rural America

The Skills Problem in America’s Industrial Heartland: Causal Factors and Local Strategies
Presented by:Carolyn Hatch, Purdue Center for Regional Development

Structural changes in the nature of competition in recent decades have placed a premium on human capital as the linchpin of globally competitive manufacturing operations. Yet a major challenge for US manufacturers, particularly the small to mid-sized companies (SMEs) in the more traditional and labor-intensive industries located in rural areas, is a shortage of sufficiently skilled, innovative and flexible workers and problem solvers. This webinar provides an overview of the key causal factors driving manufacturing skills gaps throughout Rural America and emphasizes structural factors that engender a lack of workplace learning in the US industrial context. It then draws on case studies across the North Central region to discuss innovative local solutions, focusing on the role that community colleges, Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs), and employers can play in enhancing workforce development throughout America’s manufacturing heartland.

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