Steve Dicus, co-chair of the Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Initiative’s education committee, offers his insight into the Capital Region’s manufacturing industry. For more from Dicus, check out “Makers Wanted” in our April issue. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll email you when it’s available online.
What’s the biggest change in the region’s manufacturing industry in the past year?
In recent months, the [California] governor and State Legislature have recognized the need to create more middle-skilled workers by creating a new annual recurring investment for community colleges to update and improve career education programs: the Strong Workforce Program.
Locally, several of our community colleges have launched advanced manufacturing programs aimed at increasing the number of students enrolled in career pathways leading to high-demand, high-wage jobs. Local manufacturers are actively seeking workers with basic machining skills. One student who took the introductory machining course last fall at Sierra College was offered a job as a CNC machine set-up person by a local manufacturer before the class concluded. I believe this type of investment will continue to reap huge benefits to increase and strengthen our local manufacturing workforce.
What do you foresee as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come?
Coupled with the local high schools and community college increases of advanced manufacturing courses, there is a new player on the block — Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Initiative. SVMI was recently formed by manufacturers, for manufacturers to better serve the local manufacturing ecosystem. The purpose of the SVMI is to build a robust manufacturing sector in the Sacramento region by informing and supporting education and training providers in the needs of the 21st century manufacturing workforce. These efforts will address the chronic shortage of qualified and skilled workers in the manufacturing industry. SVMI is planning a kick-off event this spring, which will engage and inform local education leaders about what exciting and rewarding manufacturing related career opportunities await their students.
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