Boosting Manufacturing Careers in Our Region

Los Rios Center of Excellence Releases New Report on Industrial Maintenance Manufacturing Trades

Valley Vision, as part of its mission to support the 21st-Century talent pipeline for the Capital Region, has partnered with the Los Rios Center of Excellence to conduct investigative research into several industry clusters that are vital to the region. The mission of the COE is to provide labor market information and other kinds of technical assistance to the 114 colleges in the system, especially to help guide program investment in the CTE areas.

On June 28th, Valley Vision and the Center of Excellence (COE) hosted over 60 industry leaders, educators, and employers at the Sacramento City College West Sacramento Campus to discuss the current state of Industrial Maintenance Mechanics workers in the Sacramento Region. This industry is a sub-category of manufacturing which focuses more closely on maintenance and repair workers.  Industrial maintenance mechanics and repair technicians apply an array of skills across a variety of businesses, on wide-ranging equipment and machinery. According to COE, these technicians have job titles as diverse as Operations Manager, Cellar Worker, Production Technician, Mechatronics Technician, Machinist, and Plant Mechanic. They repair engines, electric motors, hydraulics, winemaking equipment, conveyors, and pumps. They perform testing and predictive maintenance, welding, and machining.” They are often an overlooked, but imperative, profession.

During this meeting, Aaron Wilcher, Director, North/Far North Region COE, Los Rios Community College District, led the group through key findings, identified priorities needs for this important cluster, and his final recommendations. His research showed that demand for these positions has grown up to 26%, and over 1500 job openings for technicians are projected to become available on an annual basis. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for employers to fill these positions as many applicants lack the proper education, training, experience, or credentials.

His recommendations, specifically to the educations and community colleges, to properly address the lack of employable workers in this field were as follows:

  • Work with employers to increase award completions in related programs aligned with local demand.
  • Work with employers to identify suitable skill enhancement milestones for programs, and experienced technicians, with the goal of training technicians with a variety of skill sets.
  • Provide extensive work-based learning, on-the-job training, and other employer-led training to give trainees practical experience as part of formal training efforts.
  • Collaborate closely with employers, and continue monitoring market reporting and industry research to follow digital roadmaps and investment plans for highly-automated equipment.

In addition to the report findings, a panel discussion was lead by Trish Kelly, Managing Director of Valley Vision. Guest panelist included Adrian Jansen, Production Equipment Maintenance Supervisor, Tri Tool, Inc, Adam Sroufe, Director of Labor, Pacific Coast Producers, and Bryan Tannehill, Operations Services Manager, Siemens Mobility.  The employer was able to give personal insight into what they have seen happening in their operations as well as generalized trends they have seen in their industry. Overall, it becomes apparent that they are all lacking a workforce to fill these specific positions and are eager to hire employees.

To read the full report: Click Here

Emma Koefoed is a Valley Vision Project Associate contributing to the 21st Century Workforce and Healthy Communities strategies. 

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