Growing Weld Fixture Design and Build Company Takes Part In Efforts To Close Skills Gap In Wisconsin.
Rentapen Inc., of Waukesha, WI, a 3D Design Service Company and Tooling Components Manufacturer participating in the efforts to lessen the manufacturing and engineering skills gap.
On March 13, 2013 Governor Scott Walker signed the bill known as “Wisconsin Fast Forward”. This bill is designed to address the skills shortage in the state’s workforce and will better link employers and job seekers.
Rentapen Inc., a Machine Tool Design Company and Manufacturer of precision metal shims is just one of several manufactures helping with the effort to get the word out that jobs in manufacturing provide job security and require extensive skills. According to manufacturers, there is a large disconnect in Wisconsin between the workforce and the number of skilled workers ready to fill positions.
According to the panel of speakers at the New Faces of Manufacturing Summit hosted by Waukesha County Business Alliance, 68% of manufacturers reported a lack of talent or skills in the manufacturing industry. High school students and college freshman, who have not determined a major, do not think about manufacturing. When they do think of manufacturing, they think of it is dirty and made up of people who are low income and lower skilled.
Rentapen Inc. has been a member of the Waukesha County Business Alliance for almost two years and has been affected first hand by the skills gap. Recently, Rentapen Inc. has joined the “Dream It Do It” Marketing Action Team. This action team is made up of individuals around South-Eastern Wisconsin, and is dedicated to lessening the skills gap.
Rentapen Inc. has found that some of the most skilled workers are graduating from technical colleges. Rentapen has hired over 5 individuals from Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) alone; these students have started as interns and have excelled and been retained.
“It’s exciting to be in manufacturing right now. We are in a busy and growing industry. Finding, training, and maintaining good talent is key to being competitive in the global marketplace,” said Susan Straley, President of Rentapen. “We are pleased to have the support of the College, and the State in helping manufacturers succeed in Wisconsin.”
The second part of the bill that Governor Walker signed creates a workforce training grant program at the Department of Workforce Development. This grant program will be used to leverage additional private dollars to help both new and current employees acquire additional job trainings skills. The bill, coined “Wisconsin Fast Forward,” creates a website that uses real-time job data to match employers and potential workers, provides $15 million in state funds for worker training grants and creates an Office of Skills Development within the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to help provide specific training for employers who need workers with specific skills.
Rentapen Inc. and many other manufacturing companies are struggling to find skilled workers to fill a variety of positions because the education that people are getting does not fit the skills needed in the actual working environment. Individuals are taking courses to receive a 4-year diploma but are not attaining the correct skills needed to excel in the work place.
“The problem is parents and adults are pushing students to get degrees in subjects that do not necessarily prepare them for jobs that actually exist in the market,” said Thies. “There is a large amount of history majors, political scientists and lawyers than is needed in the workforce. At the same time, the average high schools do not have a manufacturing class or a program designed to teach about a CNC operator. There is also need for machinists and welders; these courses are not offered or encouraged in a lot of high schools throughout the state and the nation.”
Manufacturing is one of the fastest growing industries like nursing, retail and food service. The manufacturing sector is aging. Within the next five years a new generation of workers will need to have the skills and experience to take over for the generation that is leaving. Companies are trying to deal with the hundreds of years of experience that will be walking out the door in the next five to ten years. There may not be thousands of new jobs, but there will be thousands of openings, and Wisconsin does not have the skill sets to fill in.
Rentapen Inc., is the weld fixture specialist, and is home of RAPid Tooling Components. Rentapen Inc. has been providing machine tool design services to manufactures since 1976. A Certified Woman Owned Business and owns RAPid Tooling Components™. For more information about Rentapen Inc., please call 262-542-8891.
Please visit Rentapen’s Youtube channel to watch a variety of educational and entertaining videos!