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Training Hires for a High-Tech World

Companies must rethink traditional job functions and hiring methods, while molding tomorrow's work force as they adjust to our ever-changing high-tech world.

June/July 10
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Additionally, the Georgia Work Ready initiative helps Georgia's citizens match their abilities with job opportunities, and helps businesses match applicants with the skills the company needs.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills: Some 14 states (Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) are participating in a program that was developed to ensure that 21st century learning - such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills - is infused into classrooms and curricula. The goal is to provide students with the skills and knowledge that will help them succeed in our technology-driven global economy, where jobs are constantly advancing. Major corporations, including Microsoft, Apple, and Intel, also are involved in this initiative (

Virginia Jobs Investment Program: The state has implemented a New Jobs Program that targets the expansions of existing companies or new facility locations. Virginia also has a retraining program, which provides services and funding to manufacturing companies and distribution centers to assist in training their existing work force. To participate, companies should be undergoing an integration of new technology into their production processes, changing product lines to meet marketplace demands, or changing service delivery processes, requiring an assimilation of new skills and technological capabilities.

Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT): As reported in the February/March 2010 issue of Area Development, Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), which is an institution of the Alabama Community College System, provides a comprehensive work force delivery system at no cost to employers. Services include recruiting, screening, and training potential employees; developing and producing training materials; and providing training facilities.

Resurgence of Vocational Schools
Many vocational schools also are on the forefront of the new job revolution, providing practical training for workers of the future. These schools are a great resource for manufacturers seeking to expand their current high-tech worker pool.

In the 1960s, technical schools focused on short-term training, teaching trade skills to workers to enter the manufacturing and services work force. Recently, however, technical colleges have been reshaping their missions to provide intensive multi-skill training opportunities to meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's employers. Here are some schools that have been reshaping their curricula to meet the increasing demand for more versatile, high-tech workers:

Florence-Darlington Technical College: This South Carolina technical college plans to open a three-phase, 320,000-square-foot, high-tech training facility that will offer advanced manufacturing training. The $34 million Southeastern Institute for Manufacturing and Technology is expected to generate graduates who can work in next-generation sophisticated, consumer-oriented manufacturing facilities.

Greenville Technical College: Also in South Carolina, this college has a successful retraining program called "Quick Jobs with a Future," which helps displaced workers get new skills to rejoin the work force. The program allows adults, or those in occupational transition, to quickly obtain skills matching the needs of local business and industry, with most courses lasting three months or less.

Austin Polytechnical Academy: This Chicago pre-engineering and manufacturing high school was designed to prepare students for highly skilled manufacturing jobs, as well as drawing manufacturers back into the community. It incorporates hands-on manufacturing experience into the traditional high school curriculum. The school has partnerships with 24 companies that plan to provide internships and summer jobs for students.

Community Colleges in Illinois and Ohio: Eight community colleges in Illinois and Ohio are part of a new $26 million national pilot program to retrain displaced workers who could help fill a growing shortage of high-tech manufacturing employees. The test project will provide computer, electronics, and other specialized training to 1,000 unemployed or underemployed workers over the next two years. The program is expected to fill critical positions at Illinois and Ohio plants, provide high-paying jobs for displaced workers, create a pool of skilled workers to keep jobs from leaving the state, and attract new industries. Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc. was instrumental in developing the program, and will contribute $10 million toward the retraining effort.

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