Building a skilled workforce: Initiative seeks ways to end shortages


St. Charles, IL— A new manufacturing initiative is establishing basic training programs designed to educate manufacturing workers and help create and implement ways to alleviate the anticipated shortage of skilled and qualified industrial employees. Bison Gear is joining forces with other manufacturing, governmental, and educational leaders to develop a talent pool of better-qualified employees that includes plans to offer long-term stable employment.

The decision to invest in an educational program can ensure a stronger economy with a skilled workforce engaged and thriving in our communities, says Bison Gear, encouraging anyone looking to train in a high-growth field to consider this initiative. The effort is expected to benefit a variety of diverse groups beyond manufacturers, including educational institutions; retired, displaced, and incumbent workers looking to improve their current skill sets; and economic and workforce development organizations.

The training program currently being compiled consists of applied math and manufacturing principles. Specific curriculum topics include shop math, blueprint reading, measuring requirements, hand tool use, safety skills, employment / life skills, quality improvement, and business success. Classes will meet weekly for 12 weeks. Participants must be at least 18 years old, legal residents, and meet certain qualifications. For more about participating in the manufacturing training program, email Sylvia Wetzel .

Students completing the training will be eligible to seek an entry-level position at one of a dozen Illinois manufacturers who are initiative partners and be placed in a paid 90-day OTJ (on-the-job) training internship to improve manufacturing skills. A more specialized Level 2 training follows, providing an additional 72 hours of training in a specific manufacturing area. Cost of the training for this program is still being researched, with Bison investigating the possibility of establishing grants and funding assistance for tuition costs.

Bison Gear & Engineering Corp., established in 1960, designs and produces gearmotors in parallel-shaft and right-angle configurations, and ac and dc motors only, for OEMs worldwide.

—Edited by Jeanine Katzel , senior editor, Weekly News
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