Southeast AlabamaWorks recently held their first Manufacturing Cluster Meeting at Wallace Community College in Dothan. Fifty people gathered to discuss workforce needs specific to the manufacturing industry, and to share best practices and possible solutions for a number of topics. Participants were surveyed to determine the content of the cluster meeting to guide the conversation, wich produced  a range of interests from increasing retention to finding qualified applicants.

Wallace Community College Workforce Development Director, Joe Johnson, gave an overview of Wallace’s program relevant to the manufacturing industry. Johnson reminded the businesses in attendance that if they have training needs, Wallace offers a range of customizable business training for everything from Microsoft Excel to Lean Manufacturing courses.

Developing career pathways and tapping into education to access the workforce pipeline into industry continue to be pressing needs for the Manufacturing Industry. Some potential solutions discussed included developing Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship programs with FAME-USA or the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. The cluster was also encouraged to participate in Southeast WOW, the area’s only interactive career fair for 8th graders where students are encourage to “test-drive” jobs they may be interested in.

Among the discussion was Zach Jones, President of rekrewt, who educated the cluster on the most effective ways to recruit Millennials a younger workforce. Jones provided information backed by research into the manufacturing industry’s most-likely employees, and the results were eye-opening to the audience. From advertising on social media, to highlighting company technology and making video job announcements, Jones helped the cluster form a better understanding of effective outreach in 2020 and what will no longer work to get people interested in working for them.

For a full meeting recap, or to join the next conversation at upcoming Manufacturing Cluster Meetings scheduled for January 14th in Opp, and April 30th in Ozark, contact us.