Bridging the Skills Gap: Critical Role for Industry

Lead Partner: A Critical Role for Industry

An effective demand-driven workforce system can only be achieved through the collaborative partnership between, at the very least, a community’s main employers and the local school system. Such an approach can result in targeted outreach/awareness and work-based learning opportunities geared to growing industries and occupations in the regional economy.

Companies, schools, governments, community-based organizations and other groups must collaborate to expand the training and recruitment of the next generation of workers and build public awareness of the attractiveness of local industries and opportunities.

Local employers need to ramp-up their use of public/private training programs and make better use of high schools and community colleges in order to groom young workers.

Employers in small communities may benefit from working together to form a coalition to share costs/spread resources and develop programs to teach technical skills to post-secondary students or upskill manufacturing workers via on-the-job training (OJT).


Understanding the Problem
Project Overview
Community Process & Collaboration
•  Components of Community Action
•  Critical Role for Industry
•  Building the Bridge Process
•  Take Action
Importance of Labor Market Data
Promising Practices
Bridging the Skills Gap Team

The Jackson Area Manufacturers Association in Jackson, Michigan, a coalition of manufacturing companies, is one example. JAMA works with local education institutions, South Central MI Works!, the local workforce development board, and other regional partners to create industry-led training programs geared towards both post-secondary and K12 levels. This includes the Academy for Manufacturing Careers, a skilled trades technical instruction (RIT) / Certified Registered Apprenticeship Program along with innovative programs for young children to enhance their awareness and get them excited about STEM/manufacturing careers.