The Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) has been working very closely with many educational institutions across the country. This includes vocational/technical high schools and two-year and four-year universities.
This effort has focused primarily on the development of partnerships and consortiums between educators and local manufacturers in specific regions. The result has been the development of up to 20 solid industry-based metalworking training programs that are designed to meet the basic needs of the industry and to offer a career path to a metalworking job.
The most successful of these programs has been the Northeast Ohio Manufacturers Consortium (NEOMAC). Representatives from three major metalworking associations (PMPA, PMA and NTMA) and a local organization WIRENet (Westside Industrial Retention Network) put together a committee to develop metalworking partnerships with six local educational institutions: NASA Glenn Research Center for Training, Polaris & Max Hayes Trades High Schools, Cleveland Employment Training (CET), Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) and Cuyahoga Valley Community College.
This is a very good example of the power the major metalworking trade associations can have when they pool their resources and work together.
During the first 2 years the marketing effort was fairly easy, and more than 120 individuals were put through the programs. Also, an unheard of 80 percent job placement record was achieved. Then the economic slowdown came along, and job placements became very difficult. A major marketing tool was gone. This situation has occurred throughout the United States and Canada.
A major part of the success in the placements was due to the efforts of the WIRENet staff. Their sincere dedication and their genuine concern for the welfare of the individuals who entered the training programs is admirable. I am proud to say I was a part in the development of this group. I regularly use the group as an example of what can be done when we work together. If we had this kind of dedication and concern for others' success in programs running in other parts of the country, we would not have a skilled labor shortage. Those who are unemployed or under-employed would be making a contribution to America's return to manufacturing dominance.
Additional information is available on the NEOMAC project by contacting Joan Cook at WIRENet in Cleveland, Ohio, (216) 631-7330 ext. 113 or on the Web at www.wirenet.nhlink.net.
PMPA's major focus for 2002 is an aggressive recruitment effort to fill these types of training classes and to prepare the workforce for the return of prosperity. PMPA is supplying some promotional dollars through the local districts/chapters to market training programs.
PMPA offers facilitation services to groups of manufacturers and educators who are interested in developing partnerships/consortium groups to promote training programs and metalworking careers. Services are also available to develop a NIMS-based program that can lead to program certification and/or credentialing of students/trainees or existing tradesmen.
All of these efforts are done through the PMPA Training Committee, made up of members who pursue training and recruiting programs that they feel will make a difference in the world of metalworking.