Study shows local need for skills

Editor:

Linn-Benton Community College recently performed an extensive study of the manufacturing workforce training and education needs in Linn and Benton counties. I would like to thank the participating companies within our initial focus area of paper/wood products, food processing and metals industries. Next year’s focus will be healthcare and the biosciences.

I want to share the five key findings within the manufacturing sector:

1. There is a desperate need to bring more people into all of the skilled trades, particularly electricians.

2. There is an emerging new skill set required for maintenance – electro-mechanical. Due to changes to more technology-driven, automated production, maintenance work is no longer strictly mechanical, but often digital in nature.

3. There is an urgent need to draw youth into the manufacturing sector. The need to shift the image of the sector that youth and their parents have. It is also imperative to work with high schools and even grade schools to ensure that the manufacturing sector is recognized as a viable career option.

4. Industries are challenged by a set of non-technical skills, mostly among their production workforce. These non-technical skills are:problem-solving, critical thinking, motivation to be a part of the solution and adapt, and interpersonal skills like team-building and how to work with others.

5. There are growing issues of working with the newer generation of workers (the 21st century youth worker), but this is not yet pervasive. Issues of integrating a new generation of workers are definitely on the immediate horizon for companies – helping this new generation understand what it means to be an employee, dependability, professional be-havior and workplace ethic.

LBCC will make these findings a priority as we work with our workforce and economic development partners to address Linn and Benton county needs.

If you have any additional questions about what we learned, please feel free to call Gary Price, LBCC Director of Business & Employer Services, (541) 917-4948.

Again, thank you to the business and industry representatives for helping us with this important work. Their expertise and insight enables us to truly partner for the success of our community.

Rita Cavin

President, Linn-Benton Community College

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