How Community Colleges are Creating Manufacturing Leaders

Training skilled workers is important to building up the US manufacturing sector, particularly at a time when around two-million manufacturing jobs are expected to remain unfilled as a result of the growing skills gap that can be seen throughout the country.

American manufacturers need tens of thousands of very skilled employees that can become the next generation of manufacturing leaders. These workers must have the skills needed to succeed today and also be prepared to handle the digitally-enhanced devices of tomorrow that will disrupt the manufacturing industry.

With international trade and manufacturing trying to keep pace with rapidly-changing technology, the industry has been evolving and shifting so dramatically that workers’ skill sets are having a hard time keeping up with the transformations. In-house training programs for employees and leaders can close the gaps, however, the benefits are short-term.

The Role of Community Colleges

While four-year colleges and universities have been slow to adapt to this need, community colleges have been increasingly offering certification programs that train students for a range of different manufacturing jobs, including machine operator, numerical control technician and tool designer.

Community colleges are ideally situated to address the skills gap and mold the manufacturing leaders of tomorrow. These schools can move swiftly to establish programs that precisely tackle regional workforce development needs. Adjunct faculty are often also employed by local companies, so they know exactly what abilities workers need to have to get a job and advance into leadership positions. More and more, community colleges are setting up apprenticeships with regional companies so students can make an income while they gain valuable skills.


In addition to teaching practical skills, community colleges also offer numerous manufacturing certification programs. A recent Georgetown University study found certifications are the fastest-growing kind of professional credentials in the US because they can be earned quickly, are affordable and carry significant weight with employers. Companies see certifications as validation that a person’s skills are up-to-date, giving a company confident in that person’s abilities.

Apprenticeship Programs

Manufacturing is one of those industries where specialized abilities and experiences are essential for most jobs. For example, machinists working for an automobile or auto parts manufacturer must be able to operate automated and robotic assembly lines to produce cars, engines and much more. Apprenticeship programs are very effective ways for men and women to gain these unique skills and experiences.

There are numerous organization set up around the country to coordinate apprenticeship programs. For instance, the California Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Collaborative (CAMAC) works with colleges all around the state to bring together manufacturers and students. CAMAC helps give students the chance to gain real-life skillsets while earning a competitive income. Often, apprenticeship programs translate into college accreditation, as well.

At Labor Temps, we know what manufacturing professionals need to succeed in their chosen field, whether that’s continuing education, earning a certification or getting a new job. If you’re currently looking to advance your manufacturing career, please contact us today.