The Atlantic-Apprenticeships- Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers

October 28, 2014

The need for talent is a universal concern- in Germany and in North America. The German apprenticeship model is effective in Germany. But can it be successfully transplanted here?

The Atlantic recently posted an article discussing the German Apprenticeship model here

Machinists are in high demand.

Machinists are in high demand.

They gave 3  key differences between German and US ideas of apprenticeships:

  1. The first thing you notice about German apprenticeships: The employer and the employee still respect practical work. German firms don’t view dual training as something for struggling students or at-risk youth. “This has nothing to do with corporate social responsibility,” an HR manager at Deutsche Bank told the group I was with, organized by an offshoot of the Goethe Institute. “I do this because I need talent.”
  2. The second thing you notice: Both employers and employees want more from an apprenticeship than short-term training. Our group heard the same thing in plant after plant: We’re teaching more than skills. “In the future, there will be robots to turn the screws,” one educator told us. “We don’t need workers for that. What we need are people who can solve problems”—skilled, thoughtful, self-reliant employees who understand the company’s goals and methods and can improvise when things go wrong or when they see an opportunity to make something work better.
  3. A final virtue of the German system: its surprising flexibility. Skeptical Americans worry that the European model requires tracking, and it’s true, German children choose at age 10 among an academic high school, a vocational track, or something in between. But it turns out there’s a lot of opportunity for trainees to switch tracks later on. They can go back to school to specialize further or earn a master craftsman’s certificate or train as a trainer in the company’s apprenticeship program—and many do.

Beyond ROI

The question that most North American businessmen have when discussing this issue is ROI- Return On Investment.

In Germany,  according to the article, the State pays the training expense for each apprentice-

In the U.S., Companies will have to foot the bill for almost all expenses themselves.

Trained and credentialed employees will have the freedom to leave the employer, arguably before that employer can get any return on their training investment. see our post “What if I train them and They Leave?”

We think that the cost problem and the ROI problem can be solved, with work, here in North America.

But the problem that we need to solve first  is what The Atlantic piece calls “the biggest obstacle:”

American attitudes toward practical skills and what Germans still unabashedly call “blue-collar” work. In America… we’re suspicious of anything that smacks of training.

I know as a parent, there is a lot of social pride at having ones children attend university.

But I am starting to see that the real pride is not about the university that one’s child attends, it is rather the fact that they got a job capable of offering a return on  the Investment of all those college expenses.

The real pride for parents these days is being able to say that their child in fact has a full time job. Is living independently. And is not overburdened with debt.

In North America,  the way to accomplish this is by “earn as you learn” to pursue a degree after getting a well paying career started. Often the employer provides tuition assistance.

Getting started in a well paying career in advanced manufacturing  can be as simple as a one semester training program at a local community college. Not years and years of loans and expenses and fees with no immediate ROI. Earn as you learn makes ROI simultaneous with your efforts, not some dreamed for, long in the distant future hoped for outcome.

Prospects for employment remain strong in the precision machining industry:

In September 2014, ~97 % of respondents (76/78 companies) expect Employment prospects to increase or remain the same over next three months. Prospects for employment remain strongly positive.

What is going to be the key for adopting apprenticeships here in North America?

I think that it will be the realization by all affected- businesses, potential employees, parents of students, educators, government officials- that there truly exists a critical need for talent.

In Germany, everyone knows this. Over here, well, for sure the employers do. everyone else- that is anyone’s guess.


OSHA TOP 10 Violations FY 2013

October 16, 2014

OSHA recently posted  its top 10 most frequently cited violations for FY2013.While 2 of the top 3 are Construction, the balance are General Industry and General Requirements applicable to our shops.

  1. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  5. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  6. Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  7. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  8. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  9. Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  10. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]

Savvy managers will make sure that their safety training plans cover the General Industry and General Requirements topics listed above.

And frankly, I’d add GRINDERS to my personal walk around inspection list. 

grinders crop

 OSHA Top 10 2013 Link

 

 


PMPA Files Comments Opposing OSHA’s Expanded Workplace Rule

October 14, 2014

The Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) filed official comments opposing an Administration proposal to place additional burdens on employers while loosening injury reporting requirements on employees.

Clarity, not confusion, should be the work product coming out of here.

Clarity, not confusion, should be the work product coming out of here.

On August 14, 2014, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Supplemental Notice to a pending rule to make injury and illness reports public which becomes final in March 2015. The notice reframes Employee injury reporting as a “right” rather than a “duty.”

Reporting of injuries and illnesses is not a right. It is an obligation of the employee to report; and a responsibility of the employer to record, investigate, and take appropriate remedial actions to retrain as necessary and to remove any hazards so identified.

Employee Duty

Employee Duty

“We are very concerned that the as-yet unpublished regulatory text will actually become an obstacle to our ability to manage safety and hazard identification in manufacturing facilities,” said Rob Kiener, PMPA Interim Executive Director. “By changing the understanding of an employee’s “obligation to report injuries and illnesses” to a “right to report,” OSHA allows workers the discretion to not report while maintaining the burden on employers,” continued Mr. Kiener.

For these reasons, and the reasons given in our submitted letter, earlier comments, and testimony, the PMPA urged OSHA to withdraw both the proposed regulation and Supplemental Notice.

In the absence of actual regulatory text for us to review, OSHA creates only uncertainty regarding employers’ duties and obligations.

Furthermore, by ignoring OSHA’s own rule that employee compliance is a “duty,” OSHA potentially creates a means for employees to fail to report injuries and illnesses, with the proliferation of unrecognized hazards in workplaces across the country as a probable result.

Tracking Number: 1jy-8ex2-66lj

General Duty Clause Link


What Are You Doing to Attract Talent to Manufacturing- Bracalente Manufacturing Group

October 7, 2014

“Due to robotics and automation, our technician jobs are becoming higher paid and higher skilled”- Ron Bracalente, CEO, Bracalente Manufacturing Group

Manufacturing Day event at Bracalente Manufacturing Group. Real People. Real jobs.

Manufacturing Day event at Bracalente Manufacturing Group. Real People. Real jobs.

PMPA member Bracalente Manufacturing Group held their first MFG Day event last week. Students got to see first hand what a career in Precision machining could look like.

The event helped to change the conversation regarding the need for skilled people in advanced manufacturing companies like Bracalente Group.

Bracalente Group’s Trumbauersville, PA  event hosted :

  • 120 9th graders 
  • 20 students  from the local Vo-tech school,
  • 90  students from the new STEM program.

The STEM program is a college preparatory class structure for kids that are interested in Engineering and Tech.

Here is a video from The Intelligencer who reported on MFG Day.

Bracalente Manufacturing Group hosts local students to MFG Day event

PMPA member companies across the U.S. and Canada joined Bracalente in helping to change the conversation regarding options for satisfying well paying technical careers.

What are YOU doing to change the conversation?

 


US Manufacturing Near 4-1/2 Year High- Reuters

September 25, 2014

” U.S. manufacturing activity hovered at a near 4-1/2-year high in September and factory employment surged, supporting views of sturdy economic growth this quarter.”- Reuters

PMPA’s August Business Trends Report showed that for the month our industry took a bit of a breather, but sales and shipments remain up over 5% over 2013 levels.

 

A bit of a breather for precision machining.

A bit of a breather for precision machining.

Reuters also mentioned:

  • Markit said its preliminary or “flash” factory purchasing managers index came in at 57.9, unchanged from August when it touched its highest level since April 2010.
  • Factory jobs rose for a second straight month, Markit said, with a gauge of labor market conditions touching its highest level since March 2012.
  • New orders held steady above the 60 level for the third time in the past four months, indicating persistent demand for manufactured goods.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said its regional manufacturing index increased this month, with factories citing a rise in new orders and shipments.

PMPA members continue to report strong sales, scheduled overtime, increasing lead times and very strong prospects for employment in our industry.

Manufacturing near a 4-1/2 year high?

We can agree with that.
Reuters article

 

 


MFG DAY Events in Rhode Island- Take 2

September 18, 2014


The folks in Rhode Island are doing their part to make the availability of great careers in manufacturing known to students, teachers and counselors. Take a look at this list of MFG Day activities.

RI Mfg Week header Events (2) copy

Experience what happens when you add Art and Design to manufacturing on September 29th from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at the RI School of Design. Join some of RI’s most innovative manufacturers and designers.

http://www.mfgday.com/events/2014/ri-school-of-design

 

Learn about the Next Generation Manufacturing Study from John Brandt, founder of The MPI Group, on September 30th from 7:30-9:00 am at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (hosted by DiSanto Priest)

http://www.mfgday.com/events/2014/disanto-priest-co-

 

Showcase your products and career opportunities at our Manufacturing Career Awareness event at Quidnessett Country Club on October 1st from 3:30-7:00 pm.

http://www.mfgday.com/events/2014/ri-manufacturing-association-makeri

 

Get an inside view of URI’s College of Engineering and learn more about the services they can provide to our local companies on October 2nd from 3:00-7:00 pm

http://www.mfgday.com/events/2014/university-of-rhode-island-college-of-engineering
Tour CCRI’s Integrated Manufacturing Center and meet with their staff to understand their manufacturing training capabilities on October 3rd from 1:00-4:00 pm.

http://www.mfgday.com/events/2014/community-college-of-rhode-island

The shortage of skilled employees is one of the most important challenges that we face in manufacturing today. It is good to see us address this challenge.

mfgday logo


Rhode Island “Gets” MFG DAY

September 17, 2014

There is a lot happening in Rhode Island to help spread the word to high school students about MFG Day and the great careers available in our advanced manufacturing precision machining shops.

Oct 1 WPS posterV2

We’ll be following up with more from Rhode Island in our next post!


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