Talk about career readiness education.
Delavan-Darien High School had 29 students attend the Walworth County Manufacturing Career Panel earlier this quarter.
About 200 students from five high schools participated in the event, which was held at Elkhorn Area High School.
Four experts — Brian White, President of Waukesha Engine; Hanan Fishman, President of PartMaker, Inc, (a software development company); Mary Isbister, President of GenMet, Mequon (metal fabricator); Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus — spoke to the students about career opportunities in the field of manufacturing.
Each of the four speakers described their backgrounds, their journey to where they are today, various manufacturing processes, the skills and talent necessary to be successful in manufacturing, and the fast pace in which the manufacturing workplace is changing.
They discussed with students the “skills gap,” which is the problem that many manufacturers are facing today in regard to maintaining a high-quality, high-skilled workforce. According to all four speakers, there is a huge deficit in the number of young people applying for jobs in manufacturing. Currently, the industry is looking for people skilled in Design Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Machinists, Welders, CNC Programmers, Fabricators, and Machine Maintenance.
White mentioned that top machinists can earn up to $80,000 per year and that every manufacturing job generates four other jobs in other sectors such as health, IT, finance, etc.
Both White and Reader stressed to students to make certain they are preparing for a career, not just for college; to make sure that their advanced education can help them secure a job, and to prepare themselves for life-long learning.
They cited the fact that 70 percent of manufacturing jobs will require education beyond the high school diploma. Fishman backed up this fact by stating that what goes on in manufacturing today has a lot more to do with what goes on above the neck than below.
Isbister reminded students that when hiring she looks for highly driven and ambitious job candidates; those who are committed to their jobs. She, along with the Reader, White, and Fishman stressed the importance of soft skills—reliability, communication skills, collaboration, self-motivation, positive attitude, and a willingness to learn.
(Information and photos from the Precision Plus website.)
DDHS also had 30 students attend the Walworth County Job Fair on March 20. Students had 36 employers to meet and interview with if they so chose.
All students attending had to have resumes ready and did a mock interview with Marci Barr of the Walworth County Job Center. Many applications were filled out and it was a great learning experience for all who attended.