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Building a Skilled & Diverse Workforce in Manufacturing

On February 9th, Valley Vision hosted a hybrid Advanced Manufacturing Regional Advisory bringing stakeholders and industry partners together to discuss the current state of the sector, future trends and projections, and opportunities for growth. President and CEO of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association,  Lance Hastings, opened the event with a compelling statement on the future of manufacturing, “How we leverage our resources, both human and natural, is really going to be the future of what manufacturing can do in California and we cannot rest on our laurels.”  Hasting’s outlook on the future of manufacturing reflects the urgency of an industry that generates over 300 billion dollars of California’s GDP output, with the number expected to rise in the post-pandemic recovery and reshoring efforts to address supply chain disruptions.  

At the hybrid event, the regional director of Greater Sacramento Centers of Excellence, Aaron Wilcher, shared data detailing specialized manufacturing industries in the Greater Sacramento area that have a higher percentage growth compared to the rest of California. The sectors with the highest employment shares in the Greater Sacramento region included rail stock, food & beverage manufacturing, beer, and construction components. 

The Century Foundation provided information on diversity and inclusion efforts in Manufacturing and their collaboration with the Urban Manufacturing Alliance.  These organizations are leading twelve Industry & Inclusion Cohorts in community colleges across the nation, including Sierra College in Rocklin, focused on building ecosystems and increasing racial equity in the sector.  

The advisory also included a panel of industry employers including: Sara Lausmann – TSI SemiConductors, Derek Palos – Origin Materials, Kevin McGrew – Siemens, Fraser Marshall – DMG MORI USA, Inc., and Jeppe Johansen – TOMRA.  The panelists discussed partnering with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion firms and collaborating with community-based organizations in specific zip codes as ways to increase community member awareness of manufacturing careers and diversify their workforce.  Panelists unanimously agreed on the need for more women in the industry and some noted the success of women in training programs, often surpassing their male counterparts in job offers and placement. 

The most urgent needs identified by panel members were employment candidates with specific technical skills at the intersection of electrical, information technology and manufacturing. While in the past, many of these organizations were able to train individuals with little to no experience, this is shifting due to the advancement of technology.  All employers were active in providing internships and emphasized the value of hands-on learning combined with classroom education to provide a more job-ready talent pool.  

Panelists were enthusiastic about the resurgence of the industry while also acknowledging the substantial collaborative efforts needed to ensure talent demands are met, with the future of manufacturing set to have 2.1 million manufacturing jobs unfulfilled by 2030. 

To read more about this manufacturing advisory, connect HERE.  And, to keep up with Valley Vision’s projects to advance a future-ready workforce in the Sacramento region, subscribe to our 21st Century Workforce email newsletter!