Workforce Development: Training Workers to Fill the Need

May 9, 2017 No Comments
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Resource Partners With Businesses

by Justin Bjerkaas

toc_columns50pxThe skilled labor shortage is here, and it seems that nobody can agree on the right way to solve the problem. What are you doing to fill the gap in your labor pipeline?

If your company is like many others,  you may not have a plan or even know where to start. You know there is a problem, and it seems too big to even begin. Ask yourself, “Do you or your company hire a staffing company to fill your needs, or do you spend time and money on internal training programs?” Your company can grow only as quickly as you can make your widgets. If the skilled labor shortage keeps you up at night – or you have been reaching out to your local middle and high schools hoping in two to eight years you will have skilled people to work on your floor or your production line – there is a RESOURCE. It is a nonprofit organization that trains workers in as little as three weeks, with basic skills you need right now.

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RESOURCE ( helps more than 19,000 individuals and families each year in the areas of recovery, employment, and career advancement. Their career education and employment services equip skilled workers for today’s labor market.

RESOURCE has been training individuals since 1985, with a focus on small class sizes and face-to-face instruction. RESOURCE offers credentialed training programs in seven areas, commitments of three weeks to six months, and developing common skills needed in the workplace. RESOURCE has training sites in St. Cloud, Minneapolis, and Saint Paul, and offers mobile or onsite instruction as well. And, RESOURCE partners with Dakota County Technical College and Century College to provide training programs like mechatronics and core manufacturing skills.

In the mechatronics training program, RESOURCE trains candidates in workplace communication, manufacturing, and warehouse fundamentals, and prepares students to achieve these certifications: OSHA General Industry Safety & Health Certification, Forklift Operator Safety Certification, Manufacturing Skills Standard Council (MSSC), and Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Certification (PMMI). Students learn to use micrometers and calipers, clean room processes, and LEAN and ISO standards.

In the core manufacturing training program, RESOURCE trains candidates in manufacturing and warehouse fundamentals. Candidates obtain the OSHA General Industry Safety & Health Certification, and Forklift Operator Safety Certification and prepare to take the IPC J-STD-001 IPC and IPC A-610 credential exams.

In addition to having articulation agreements with three colleges, RESOURCE partners with more than 200 Minnesota businesses to help match qualified individuals with their workforce needs. These partners have hired RESOURCE graduates to help make everything from medical devices to vending machines.

RESOURCE is a huge asset to the communities it serves and can be a workforce source as well. Many of the current candidates with whom RESOURCE works had been laid off due to downsizing or mergers and acquisitions, and sought RESOURCE for training and career advancement. Some MPMA members might even have employees trained by RESOURCE on their shop floors and in productions lines wihout even knowing it. Many graduates are hired by staffing firms, like Aerotek, Manpower, and Pro Staff, to fill short-term and temp-to-hire positions in the manufacturing sector. RESOURCE business partners hire their graduates directly because the training programs train talented individuals for their workplaces. They believe in RESOURCE’s mission and value their programs and employment services.

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Manufacturers might have plenty of applicants or an available labor force, but it’s difficult to find people with the necessary skills or the desired certifications to do the job. Your company also may lack a training program. Or perhaps your new employees job shadow before moving into a line. RESOURCE can help train those individuals, in as little as three weeks, depending on the qualifications of the candidate and the training program.
Everyone can get involved with RESOURCE. Business owners and leaders can join the Business Partner Council which ensures the career education training curriculum remains relevant to the workforce needs of Minnesota businesses.  pm_endmarkred-e1320337243152

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JUSTIN BJERKAAS is Vice President of Great Western Bank and serves on MPMA’s Publications Committee. He can be reached at 612-518-7452, or

Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.


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