13, April 2017

Is your company prepared to fill the skills gap?

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By Uma Hoffman

By 2025, there are 2 million jobs expected to go unfilled in the manufacturing industry due to a skill gap shortage that is a result of the retirement of baby boomers.

The Dream It, Do It ND program has the solution to this workforce shortage by changing the perception of students, educators and parents about the manufacturing industry.  The manufacturing industry has not been a top career area that students are exploring because of the negative perception that the industry has faced over the years.   Dream It, Do It, is a national program that will change the perception by providing students, educators and parents with the realistic view of the industry. 

DreamIt-220.jpgThe program is sponsored by the National Institute of Manufacturing and has been adopted throughout the country.  In North Dakota, the Southwest Area Manufacturers have developed a program from the grassroots level and have found success in the approach taken which could be largely credited to the manufacturing leaders in the community.  The program in North Dakota was recognized nationally in 2016 at a Dream It, Do It Leadership Conference.

The Southwest Dream It, Do It Program has evolved over the past three years and continues to grow and evolve with the community.   The key aspects of the program include school outreach, company ambassador program, Manufacturing Day and a “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” video contest that will be introduced in 2017 by the Southwest Area Dream It, Do It team.

There are 18 company ambassadors from five of the manufacturing companies (Steffes, Baker Boy, Fisher, KMM and TMI) who go into the schools and speak to the students about the companies, products that are made in our community, careers in addition to supporting the students with resume writing and mock interviewing.  Over the past two years, over 850 students have been reached in the area and 2017 will bring even more exposure to the program.

The company ambassadors are high potential employees who are the future leaders for many of the companies. They are selected by the top leadership of their company to go into the schools and represent their company as well as the manufacturing industry.  Their level of engagement in the program is impressive and they also take an active role in community volunteering and the manufacturing day events.

The Dream It, Do It ND program will continue to grow across the state and we are hopeful that more business and community leaders will leverage the knowledge and experience that the Southwest Area Manufacturers has with this program to start up their region’s program.

By 2030, as we continue to grow and develop this program, we will be ahead of this skill shortage if strategically, we can begin to connect the industry with students, educators and parents. 

UmaHoffman.jpgAbout the Author: Uma Hoffmann is currently the HR Manager at Steffes LLC headquartered in Dickinson, ND, prior to joining Steffes LLC, she worked for companies such as the Norfolk Airport Authority, AMSEC LLC, People Inc and Life Technologies. She is originally from Grand Island, NY, and has lived throughout the United States through her career. She holds her Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management, SHRM-SCP and SPHR. Prior to starting her career in Human Resources, she was an Aviation Ordnancemen in the United States Navy and after exiting the military, pursued her career in Human Resources.  She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Business Administration with a concentration in Engineering & Technology.

  • ND SHRM Advocacy Captain
  • ND SHRM Legislative Director
  • Southwest Area HR Association President Elect / Legislative Director
  • Board Member of Workforce Development Council
  • Member of the ND Recruiter’s Network
  • President of Southwest TrainND organization
  • Member of the North Dakota Veteran’s Advisory Council
  • ND State Ombudsman - ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve)

For more information about Dream It, Do It please contact the Greater North Dakota Chamber at (701) 222-0929 or click here.

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