Talking Talent and Technology

 Talking Talent and Technology

Manufacturing today focuses on safety, innovation and problem solving.

REDI Cincinnati addresses advanced manufacturing needs

By Terry Troy

The Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership (AMIP) and TechSolve are two organizations that are redefining manufacturing in Southwest Ohio. REDI Cincinnati Talent Director, Adam Jones, recently sat down with the two partners to talk about how the organizations are preparing a pipeline of both technology and talent in the region.

Currently, AMIP has 250 active members, working together to better connect with the future talent pipeline. The process starts as early as junior high and high school, educating students on what manufacturing looks like today. It’s no longer a dirty, unsafe environment, but rather focuses on safety, innovation and problem solving.

For its part, TechSolve has been an advocate of advanced manufacturing in the Cincinnati region and all of Ohio, offering technology solutions that help manufacturers grow. Like AMIP, it partners with organizations throughout the area to expand its technology solutions.

“There are exciting and viable career paths in manufacturing,” said Chris Leady, of AMIP, who is also vice president of engineering and supply chain at Pilot Chemical Company. “We tell students, ‘this is different from your grandfather’s manufacturing – and, you can earn a good living and support your family.’

“Manufacturing is modernizing around data, technology, and logistics. We’ve arrived at Industry 4.0. Companies are starting to use live data from the factory floor to constantly analyze how the machines are running and predict and prevent machine breakdowns. We are also using data analytics to better understand customer buying patterns to predict future forecast needs.”

“And the Cincinnati region is extremely advanced in technology,” added Traci Spencer, grant program manager of TechSolve. “We have industry leaders like GE Aviation and P&G that are looking 10-20 years in the future. They are asking questions about future workforce needs that will drive our educational institutions’ offerings.

“Our small and medium-sized manufacturers are adopting Industry 4.0 technologies and TechSolve is assisting them with awareness workshops, cybersecurity services, and IIoT products and services. We are also working with AMIP and the regional educational institutions on a statewide initiative to upskill 5,000 Ohioans with innovative earn-and-learn (apprenticeship) strategies.”

Spencer went on to address the future, specifically the designation of Ohio as a Defense Manufacturing Community by the U.S. Department of Defense. Because of this effort, the state of Ohio has been awarded $5 million from the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA). For TechSolve, this means a grant of $900K over three years to support the defense manufacturing community in Southwest Ohio.

Of course, developing talent to support such efforts is crucial.

“Every manufacturer is working to solve the talent gap as there is a significant percentage of the skilled workforce that is retiring over the next several years and we’ve seen a continuous decline in the number of people interested in manufacturing careers,” said Leedy. “The key is to educate students in grades 6-12 as well as adults looking for a career change about the great opportunities in manufacturing, then provide them the necessary training, combining technical school training with on-the-job apprenticeship experience. The State of Ohio was awarded a U.S. Department of Labor Scaling Apprenticeship Grant to promote apprenticeship programs and build up the talent pipeline. AMIP is responsible for implementing this grant for the SW Ohio region and we’ve partnered with TechSolve to ensure we meet our goals.”

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