How companies and organizations are working with higher education institutions and programs to help fill workforce gaps and bolster college and university resources.
When Hydrotech, Inc., detected a noticeable gap between the experienced, knowledgeable recruits that it needed and the types of job candidates it was attracting, the company knew it wouldn’t be long before its eligible employee pipeline dwindled. “We’re less interested in finding someone who can swing a hammer,” says Jim Pickrel, marketing manager for the Cincinnati-based fluid power and motion automation solutions distributor, “and more intent on getting employees who can interface with computers and operate intelligent machinery.”
To help fill the gap, align itself with the regional education system, and cultivate future job candidates, the distributor reached out to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. The school was running an electromechanical engineering program that relied on outdated equipment for student training. Pickrel says the distributorship participated in a series of meetings with the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technologies department head before coming up with a plan of action.
“We looked at exactly what the school needed to bring its lab up to date,” says Pickrel. “We wanted to make sure we understood the requirements and the specifications, and that we’d be able to make a positive impact on the program.”
Working with manufacturing firm Bosch Rexroth, Hydrotech initially donated four Pneumatic and Fluid Dynamic Training Systems to replace the school’s existing, antiquated equipment. Today, the Bosch Rexroth DS3 models are used to demonstrate simulations of manually and/or pneumatically operated valves, electrically operated valves, and PLCs (programmable logic controllers).
According to Pickrel, Hydrotech engineers, assembles, and develops the equipment that the college is using. Last year the distributor donated another four hydraulic training stands that students are now using to test and train different scenarios they may encounter when working in the fluid power industry. “These students may be working for us someday or for one of our local clients or partners,” says Pickrel. “It’s a blessing to be able to help them develop the crucial skills that they need to be successful.”
A Long History of Corporate Curriculum Success
Higher education has long relied on strong partnerships with businesses and organizations to help enhance student success both in and out of school. Thanks to advancements in technology, emerging careers (i.e., data scientists), and the changing needs of today’s employers, a growing number of firms are joining forces to do their part in developing the modern-day workforce.
“From a macro perspective, a large number of people are looking to prepare themselves for re-entry into the job market while others are just coming into the job market for the first time and competing with these experienced individuals,” says Chris Neimeth, COO at NYC Data Science Academy in New York. “At the same time, organizations are looking at new ways of doing business and new solutions—such as data-driven decision making. This has created a need for students to learn how to use these new tools and solutions.”