A different kind of match

Posted on Mar 15, 2018 :: Editors Note
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

I learn something new every time I talk with Jim Golembeski.

The last conversation I had with him lasted for maybe 15 to 20 minutes, but has so far produced the seed of at least four story ideas, including the cover story in this month’s issue of IOM. He really knows how to pack meaning into his words.

It’s probably because as the executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, he works daily with folks who are either looking for a job or trying to find a path to a better one. In an economy where almost everyone who wants a job has one, the obstacles blocking the path between worker and potential career are intensely magnified.

The glare from the mismatched skills must nearly blind him. We have a slice of millennials, now the largest living generation, who went to school and took on crushing debt to acquire skills on one side of the recession that would no longer be needed or financially rewarding on the other side. A huge student debt load and a low-paying, or nonexistent, job generally don’t combine well.

But one person’s problem is another’s opportunity, right? In an area where manufacturers are desperate for talent, and there is a group of workers who could contribute with some “reskilling,” we would seem to have the solution for both sides within our grasp.

Jessica Thiel, Insight’s intrepid staff writer, explores the “reskilling” issue and its potential for alleviating some of the talent challenges the region’s manufacturers face starting on page 8. It’s a good read.

When it comes to helping match workers with jobs, it’s not just the schools and the companies that are hard at work. This month, Nikki Kallio has another take on the success of apprenticeship programs and how they can help workers get into the workforce faster. It seems many of our skilled-trade unions also run apprenticeship programs to give workers the skills and experience they need. The story begins on page 17, and you may find yourself wondering why we don’t use these programs more.

It’s hard to believe it’s March already. That means we are less than two months away from Insight’s annual THINC! conference. The event is set for May 10 at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Menasha. In addition to an inspiring speaker (see page 29), the event will introduce the winners of this year’s Insight Innovation awards.

Learn more about the conference at insightonbusiness.com/events/thinc. We look forward to seeing you there!