In a pilot program, Humphrey Products recently partnered with the Kalamazoo (County) Regional Educational Services Agency (KRESA) to bring the attention of educators to the world of manufacturing in our home state of Michigan. On June 26th Humphrey hosted 20 teachers ranging from Kindergarten to High School Math and Science teachers, and from districts across the county, in an effort to help educate and inform them about the world of manufacturing. The program was facilitated by Kristen Garceau, Career Readiness Coordinator for KRESA, and David Maurer, Humphrey President and CFO. One of the goals of this partnership was to build a relationship with educators to help emphasize not only the importance of manufacturing but also the diverse workforce needed for success. As Dave Maurer put it, “As manufacturers, we have a strong need for a skilled workforce. However, we cannot expect the education sector to know what constitutes a “skilled work force” unless we’re prepared to show them what that is.” This pilot program is an effort to do just that.
When we think of manufacturing, we typically think of people fabricating parts from raw materials and assembling components into products for sale. While skilled labor is fundamental, educators often overlook many of the supporting functions in manufacturing. Functions such as: Engineering, Sales & Marketing, Human Resources, Purchasing, Production Planning, Facilities Management, Safety and Compliance and Accounting. All of these functions require special skills and many manufacturers work hard to promote from within to fill these roles. When educators can demonstrate the real world application of the concepts they are teaching, students will be better engaged in their learning and, hopefully, retain more of it as they continue to grow.
The reality today is that manufacturing companies need a diverse influx of workers to both support their business and to grow it. Teachers are on the front line in helping students find their way to their future career paths. Through programs like this, teachers have one more tool to help steer young people to a path that they may not have previously considered or even been aware of. Humphrey strongly believes this ultimately benefits both the student and employers. After the success of this pilot, KRESA hopes to duplicate this model at additional manufacturers, as well as in other sectors of the local economy.
KRESA & Humphrey Products partnering for a brighter tomorrow through manufacturing, education and understanding.
Humphrey is known for our innovation and commitment to the development of the most efficient products possible. However, we are also committed to the people who make our products as well as the newer generations of skilled workers who are seeking a job in the manufacturing industry. The manufacturing sector is continuously growing and we at Humphrey understand the importance of preparing people for this thriving industry.
We have been actively developing opportunities to prepare future employees with our involvement in the Advanced Manufacturing Career Consortium. Since 2011, more than 70 southwestern Michigan manufacturers and organizations meet to develop strategies to train and recruit good candidates for the manufacturing industry. The future success of manufacturing depends on the recruitment of motivated students to choose this career path and also provide quality training to adequately prepare the students for a job in manufacturing. The Michigan Manufacturing Association featured Humphrey and discussed how we are linking our past to the future with these endeavors.
One of the results of the Advanced Manufacturing Career Consortium initiatives was the creation of the Production Technician Academy. This is a segment of the Kalamazoo Valley Groves Center and is a hands-on program designed to teach new technicians on a variety of electrical and mechanical equipment. Another goal of the Production Technician Academy is to provide various types of certified safety training. At the end of the program technicians are expected to have the skills to maintain a safe work area, equipment, tools, and workstations. The technician will receive a Transcript of Competencies and a Certificate of Completion. The Certificate of Completion is from either Kalamazoo Valley Community College or Glen Oaks Community College. Students can use The Transcript of Competencies as a reference for their skills in future interviews.