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Workforce Innovation Submitted By:
Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board

Manufacturing Skills & Readiness

Innovation photo or program logo

Community Challenge/Problem

Manufacturing is the fastest growing job segment in Lancaster County. Although Workforce planners were able to place workers into available manufacturing jobs, the fail rate was high because workers did not understand the rigors of the working environment: on one’s feet for long periods; meeting demands to work quickly and keep up with the pace of the factory; and working in hot, cold, or noisy environments. A program was needed to prepare potential employees for the job and screen candidates to determine who would best succeed.

Board Solution/Innovation

The Lancaster County WIB developed the Manufacturing Skills Factory as a combined program to prepare jobseekers for manufacturing jobs. The activities of the training and work experience are as much designed to introduce people to the culture of manufacturing as to teach specific skills. Manufacturers provide real world work at the training site in the early stages and in their plants during the latter part of the program. Participants have a real work experience where they must complete Ready2Work (career readiness assessment) and receive the Career Readiness Credential, present a resume, interview for the program, and complete a drug screening. Participants spend the first three weeks engaging in skill training that includes safety, hand and power tools, and forklift driving while actually doing assembly and disassembly on projects provided from metal, plastics, and packaging manufacturers. During the last three weeks, participants hit the road and are involved in an intense work experience on-site where they work one shift on second and another on third.

Outcomes & Results

The implementation of this program has resulted in more effective placements for Lancaster County jobseekers. Twelve participants will graduate from the program in March, 2011. All of them have job placements and will be ready to hit the ground running with skills learned from this program. The PA CareerLink plans two more sessions before the end of June 2011.

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