You’ll often hear tales of how the manufacturing industry in the U.S. is dead, yet there is a simultaneous message that the manufacturing industry simply can’t find the employees it needs; employees with the skills required to thrive.

So which is it?

Addressing the skills gap in manufacturing

The American manufacturing industry is facing a huge skills gap and, despite the pervasively high unemployment rate in this country, many skilled manufacturing jobs remain unfilled. Download free report on Bridging the Skills Gap.

The solution employers should be looking at might not necessarily be the outsourcing of talent, but should instead be focusing on reskilling existing employees to give them the needed skills to work in a revamped manufacturing facility, while also providing the necessary skills to new employees. It’s not a skills gap issue – it’s a skills training issue.

There’s a big difference between reskilling existing employees and providing comprehensive training to new employees. Therefore, the purpose of this discussion will focus on closing the skills gap by reskilling your current workforce.

How do you reskill employees, particularly those who are resistant to change or work in an environment that’s thought of as being traditional? Quality training.

If you’re designing eLearning training specifically for reskilling existing employees, consider the following tips:

Get to Know Your Market and the Current Environment

Before you can really create reskilling training that’s going to be effective and relevant, you need to have a thorough understanding of the market you’re facing within your industry. This goes with understanding the differences between what you’re currently facing, versus the past expectations and understanding employees had.

If the market you’re in has undergone a significant shift, you may not just have to reskill your employees on manufacturing basics – you may actually be required to alter the entire focus of your organization, including your mission and values. It’s important to understand all of these components before you start creating your reskilling training.

Also, consider your competition heavily in the process. Where does their focus lie and how is that going to play into your current goals and trajectory? These issues need to be looked at and understood before you can begin training your employees.

Assess the Current Skill Level of Employees

When you’re starting to create eLearning designed at reskilling current employees, you need to have a thorough understanding of what their current skill level is. The best way to conduct this type of assessment is through a variety of methods, from on-the-floor observation, to tests and questionnaires.

When you understand the skill level of your employees, you can create eLearning that’s going to specifically speak to their needs and deficiencies.

You can then compare their current skill level and expertise with what’s need for future success.

Train Your Trainers

It’s not just your actual manufacturing employees that are going to be impacted by reskilling. You need to ensure, before you start training those employees, that company leaders and managers are also up-to-speed.

Introduce training to your trainers so they can then transfer their knowledge and abilities to lower level employees and ensure there’s consistency and quality throughout your organization.

A Valuable Investment

Once you’ve completed the above steps you can then begin designing the eLearning training that’s going to specifically address the skills you need your employees to learn, whether it’s new software or manufacturing processes.

It’s important to realize reskilling can be an extremely valuable investment for an organization to make, because you’re focusing on your long-term employees, many of whom have demonstrated loyalty for your company.

This can often be a safer bet than bringing a new employee on-board when your current employees can actually fill the roles you have open.

As an added bonus, even if employees are initially resent to reskilling, once they’ve undergone this training they’re likely to feel even more loyal toward your organization and more engaged in their job than they were prior to the reskilling process. Read how Merit Medical does this.

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