The kind of training you really need (2023)

According to a recent study by Deloitte LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, “For years, manufacturers have reported a significant gap between the talent they need and the skills they need

what they can actually find. [Actually] 67 percent of manufacturers said there is a moderate to severe shortage of available skilled workers, and 56 percent expect this shortage to worsen over the next three to five years.”[1] Most severe to be found are machinists, toolmakers, mold makers and other craftsmen and technicians.

It's really old-fashioned, and we've been talking about the skilled labor problem for years. This is the fifth skills gap survey published by these organizations since 1990, and they all show similar results, but very few people speaking on this topic say exactly what skills are needed. The reason this is difficult to define is because manufacturing encompasses a large number of industries, industrial products and types of manufacturing.

Six million people have been laid off from manufacturing jobs since 2001, and yet 5% of all manufacturing jobs (60,000 jobs) remain unemployed. Manufacturers do not want to rehire low-skilled workers; They want multi-skilled people who can do a variety of jobs. Because of the automation and changing nature of manufacturing work, I will argue that the skills we need are very similar to the skills one obtains in a long-term or apprenticeship-like program.

Penn United Technologies is a medium sized manufacturer based in Western PA specializing in precision metal fabrication. Jim Ferguson, Training Manager, explains that in 1997 they did most of their training at local vocational training centers, but the training did not cover all the skills needed for their type of manufacturing. They decided to invest in their own education and idealized the Institute of Learning for the Growth of High Technology (LIGHT).

The Institute is a 17,000 square foot manufacturing education facility on Penn United Technologies' main campus. There are three training rooms and four in-house laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing machinery and equipment to provide bespoke manufacturing training to external customers and their in-house staff.

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LIGHT's primary mission is to evaluate, design and develop manufacturing training programs to meet the needs of its customers and employees. The institute offers short-term training, long-term learning programs, tuition reimbursement for university courses, and personalized training.

Their short-term training is a list of 25 courses and a growing selection of metalworking seminars and workshops. This training covers everything from 5-S and introduction to machining, CNC programming and manual machining.

Long-term employee training includes four Pennsylvania Bureau of Apprenticeship Training (BAT)-approved apprenticeship programs and three inter-company programs.

Recognized apprenticeship training company

  • Toolmaker - 5 years.
  • Precision mechanic - 4 years.
  • Printing technician - 3 years.
  • Quality Assurance Engineer - 3 years.

Internal Learning Programs

  • Galvanizing technician - 3 years.
  • Carbide Finish Grinder - 4 years.
  • Carbide preformer - 3 years.

The education of its employees also includes the reimbursement of tuition fees to support the professional development of its employees through the successful completion of higher education courses such as accounting, engineering and business administration, as well as the achievement of 2 and 4 year degrees.

In cases where the standard program or course does not specifically meet the wishes of the participants, they can adapt the training. The Custom Manufacturing Training Center offers customized training through a list of courses, seminars and workshops.

Penn United's Light Training Center is a great model for any builder who needs the advanced skills of a true traveler. They recognize that in order to make world-class products, they must provide world-class training.


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Another good example is MAG IAS, an American machine tool manufacturer with plants in Germany and the USA. of its GDP, while US manufacturing fell from 23% to 11% of GDP. The US operations of MAG use a system that shows similarities with the German training model, because "the scope of OJT and the special individual support of each trainee by high-ranking masters correspond to the German philosophy.


MAG offers training for apprentices, engineering cooperatives and internship programs. The company recognized the problem of baby boomer retirement and the impact it would have on their production systems and, more importantly, their crafts. They reintroduced the vocational training for their skilled workers that was once common in the machine tool industry.

Apprentices are full-time employees of the company. They receive wages and benefits, and the company pays for their education and training. Two of the apprenticeship programs (The Run-Off Technician and the Electrical Engineer) include 8,000 hours of OJT combined with evening classes to earn a Manufacturing Engineering or Electrical Engineering degree.

The Master Assembler position includes 6,000 hours of OJT combined with the MET Associate's degree. The associate degree is usually acquired in 3 1/2 years. MAG's Hebron, KY operations work with the Gateway Community and Technical College to complete much of the class work. Its other US institutions work in a similar way with other schools locally.

The Hebron training program is registered with the Kentucky Department of Labor's Division of Employment, Learning and Training Standards in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Learning and Training. In addition, it is registered in the national training program according to the basic training standards set by the Ministry of Labour.

A key theme in continuing education that will produce the multi-skilled people we need in manufacturing is the skill known as problem solving. The mediums talk about advanced skills, problem solving, computer skills, and programming, but never connect these general themes to advanced skills. Maintaining, repairing and operating today's machine tools and packaging equipment requires excellent problem-solving skills, and I think people acquire these types of skills through apprenticeships.

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In an Industry Week article, Bill Horworth, President of MAG Global Services, emphasized the usefulness of problem-solving tutorials. He says, "Troubleshooting the product and understanding why it does what it does takes a lot of skill and experience that you don't learn in the classroom."

Mark Logan, MAG's vice president of marketing, agrees that problem solving is important and requires advanced skills. He says: “When it comes to diagnosing and repairing sophisticated machines and devices, we are dealing with a very wide range of skills, from precision mechanical components to electronic and electromechanical systems to computer programming and software. All of these functions interact under different operating conditions in factories around the world. For this reason, face-to-face and theoretical training must be combined with practical on-site experience, together with the guidance of experienced professionals. One of our most urgent needs is field service technicians with proven skills on the job.”

internship programs

MAG internship programs are internship positions for students completing high school, college, or masters. Internships are currently used for engineering students and students pursuing an associate degree. Interns are paid hourly and typically work 40 hours per week. In some cases, interns travel with the field service group and work overtime. The Internship is a smaller, unpaid program designed to give applicants hands-on experience prior to training.

I am particularly impressed with the company's career advancement for its manufacturing jobs. Younger people are very reluctant to take a job at an American manufacturing company because of offshoring, plant closures and little commitment to employees for training or the future. MAG describes future jobs at their company as careers, which means they consider a long-term contract and help the new hire describe a career by providing the training and education they need to be successful.

Mark Logan says, “We have developed and expanded our learning and other programs out of necessity. We need a talent pipeline to fill current and future retirements, as well as to support our global expansion and future leadership needs. Our competitors face the same challenges. It is important that people in our apprenticeship programs know their possible path and are motivated to turn their apprenticeship into a long-term career opportunity; For example, two of the dual trainees are currently using the tutoring for their bachelor’s degree.”


An estimated 6 million people have lost their manufacturing jobs since 2000, but the Wall Street Journal and other major newspapers say manufacturers don't want these people back -- they want people with advanced skills, who are problem-solvers, all-rounders and good problems are shooters. I suggest that these types of people will only be available by investing in a long-term education that can eventually reach some sort of journeyman status.

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The training programs described in this article and used by Penn United and MAG IA are good examples of what needs to be done in this country to meet continuing education needs. Both companies offer apprenticeships, short-term training, tuition reimbursement, personalized training and certificates of competency. They are comprehensive programs that include training and long-term investments. Both companies also describe their manufacturing jobs as career opportunities and are willing to retain employees for the long term.

At the same time, it is clear that most Fortune 500 companies are not investing in these long-term training programs, particularly apprenticeships. In a recent USA Today article, the move away from extensive training began after the 1980s recession, as companies began to find ways to further reduce costs.

I also saw this trend as a manager of a division that built automatic machines for Fortune 500 companies. In the 1970's many of these companies sponsored apprenticeship programs and invested in extensive training, but by the 1980's most of this extensive training was abandoned and many of craftsmen retired. Insufficient training immediately led to more service problems on our machines as new employees were unable to operate, maintain and repair our machines. The most obvious service problems occurred during troubleshooting, which by definition requires extensive and advanced training.

According to the US Department of Labor's Apprentice Training Office, only about 4% of the trainees in its database are manufacturers. When I examined the apprenticeship database by state, I found that few Fortune 500 companies (with the exception of the automotive industry) sponsored apprenticeships.

I believe that if we are to train new manufacturing workers to solve advanced problems and have the multifaceted ability to do many generalist jobs, long-term, comprehensive training programs are required. I suspect public companies will continue to view training as an expense rather than an investment. This type of mindset is very suspicious of training programs that take years to pay people for the skills they acquire, or issue certificates to people that make their skills transferrable.

We've done enough research to know what skills and training programs are needed. Companies like Penn United and MAG Industrial Automation have already developed their curricula and invested in equipment. They know what skills are needed and are already training America's future industrial workers.

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It's time for the big companies that employ the majority of US manufacturing workers to end stagnation and commit to long-term training. Yes, it will probably be an investment of 3% of the turnover and a commitment to years of long-term training, certificates of achievement and recognition of training as an investment rather than an expense. We don't need any more "skills shortage" surveys, it's time to act.

Mike Collins is the author of Saving American Manufacturing and its companion book, The Growth Planning Handbook for Manufacturers. To learn more about the author or these titles, visit

[1]boiling point? The Skills Gap in US Manufacturing, Deloitte Consulting LLP, The Manufacturing Institute, August 2011.


What is the most important thing in training? ›

Equip and improve skills: Skill development is an important aspect of every training program because new employees need to learn technical and soft skills. Additionally, seasoned employees need ongoing training in order to improve — and keep — their skills up-to-par over time.

What are the three most important training needs you would identify? ›

It's likely that training and development needs will fall into one of three categories:
  • Improving staff knowledge about your industry.
  • Job-related needs.
  • Personal development.
Dec 7, 2022

What are the three types of training needs? ›

There are three different types of training need:
  • organizational;
  • workteam;
  • individual.

How do you have the best training? ›

13 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Workout, According to...
  1. Lift weights. “If you just do cardio, you're sabotaging yourself,” says Jacob Wilson, Ph. ...
  2. Listen to music. ...
  3. Swap stretching for a dynamic warmup. ...
  4. Preface your workout with carbs. ...
  5. Do intervals. ...
  6. Drink water. ...
  7. Use free weights. ...
  8. Get a better night's sleep.
Mar 3, 2016

How do you train effectively at work? ›

5 Easy Steps To Effectively Train Your Staff
  1. Define The Job. Itemize the main duties and tasks of the job. ...
  2. Prepare To Train. List the areas of responsibility and procedures to complete each task. ...
  3. Communicate & Demonstrate. ...
  4. Foster Feedback. ...
  5. Follow Up Frequently. ...
  6. Conclusion.

What is the overall purpose of training? ›

From the point of view of the individual employee, there are three main aims of training: Improve the individual's level of awareness. Increase an individual's skill in one or more areas of expertise. Increase an individual's motivation to perform their job well.

How do you describe training experience? ›

Describe your training experience

Start your bullet points with a strong verb like "coach" or "train." Use the STAR method to state your training responsibilities and the results of your actions. As much as possible, use figures and statistics to show hiring managers your impact as a trainer.

What is the importance skills training? ›

When done right, skills development can reduce un- and underemployment, increase productivity, and improve standards of living. Helping people develop and update their skills makes economic sense.

What are the main types of training? ›

Types of training
  • induction.
  • on-the-job.
  • off-the-job.

What is the most popular type of training? ›

Classroom-style training is the most traditional and popular training method for employees. This method mimics other classrooms in that an instructor prepares and leads the experience, usually using a lecture-style presentation with a visual component.

What are your training and development needs? ›

Training and development is vital part of the human resource development. It is assuming ever important role in wake of the advancement of technology which has resulted in ever increasing competition, rise in customer's expectation of quality and service and a subsequent need to lower costs.

What are the four importance of training? ›

Training and development programs provide a host of benefits. They enhance employee performance, boost employee productivity, reduce employee turnover, and improve company culture. Explore the importance of training and development programs for employees and employers by pursuing a career in human resources.

What is the level of training needs? ›

Training needs analysis is ideally undertaken at 3 levels (organisational, team and individual).

What kind of training do you provide to your employees? ›

What are some examples of popular employee training programs? Some popular examples include orientation training, onboarding training, technical skills training, soft skills training, product/service training, compliance training, franchise training, and managerial/leadership training.

What is quality training? ›

A quality training is one that meets all eight standards. To meet a standard, your training must address each required attribute. Also your training should address the additional attributes (listed below the required attributes) if they apply to your specific learners or training goals.

What makes a successful training session? ›

Top Ten Tips for... Delivering a Great Training Session
  1. Tell your delegates what they can expect in advance. ...
  2. Use all the senses. ...
  3. Demonstrations and practical activities. ...
  4. Test what they've learnt so far. ...
  5. Involve your trainees. ...
  6. Don't be afraid to repeat yourself. ...
  7. Analyse the session as you go. ...
  8. Keep the session on track.

What are 3 benefits of training? ›

Benefits of Employee Training & Development
  • Improved employee retention. ...
  • Increased employee engagement. ...
  • More productivity. ...
  • Boosted employee morale. ...
  • Consistent work processes. ...
  • Less employee supervision. ...
  • Increased ability to promote from within. ...
  • Reduced waste.

What is the purpose of training and development? ›

Training and development initiatives are educational activities within an organization that are designed to improve the job performance of an individual or group. These programs typically involve advancing a worker's knowledge and skill sets and instilling greater motivation to enhance job performance.

How do you write feedback on training? ›

How to Give Feedback on Training Session
  1. Explain why feedback is essential.
  2. Apply a framework for providing formal or informal feedback.
  3. Use descriptive language in delivering feedback.
  4. Describe six characteristics of effective feedback.
  5. Provide feedback in real situations.

How do you say training session was good? ›

Your session was well received and I personally enjoyed it very much. I would like to thank you for the time and effort you invested in preparation for this conference. Overall the feedback was very positive, which is a testament to the great presentations, and enthusiasm about the subject.

What is an example of positive training feedback? ›

“I truly enjoyed this course.” “I appreciated how the instructor surveyed the class before to get a sense of what we all wanted to take away from the course.” “The instructors were fantastic – very knowledgeable and willing to answer questions as they came up.”

What is training at work? ›

Training at work is all about learning new skills which support you in doing your job, in a formal or semi-formal setting.

What is skill based training? ›

Skills-based training programs typically focus on teaching students how to perform a job. A skills-based program can be designed for people without absolutely no experience in a particular industry, or it can be directed at people who already work in a field and want to improve their skillset.

What are training styles? ›

In general, the 3 most common learning styles are: Visual, audio, and kinesthetic. Everyone is a little bit of each type, but in most people, one style prevails over the other two. Here are some suggestions for effectively training employees according to their learning style: Aural Learners.

What are the five training needs? ›

The processes of Training Needs Assessment can be divided into five steps: i) identify problem and needs; ii) determine design of needs assessment; iii) collect data; iv) analyze data; and v) provide feedback.

What are the 5 major components of a training needs assessment? ›

The five steps of the TNA process include:
  • Defining strategic goals.
  • Outlining required skills and knowledge.
  • Evaluating current skills.
  • Locating performance gaps and causes.
  • Establishing training needs.
Mar 10, 2021

What are the types of training needs in an organization? ›

8.2 Types of Training
  • Technical or Technology Training. Depending on the type of job, technical training will be required. ...
  • Quality Training. ...
  • Skills Training. ...
  • Soft Skills Training. ...
  • Professional Training and Legal Training. ...
  • Team Training. ...
  • Managerial Training. ...
  • Safety Training.

What are the needs for employee training? ›

Increasing Value – Employee training can teach new skills or improve existing skills. This helps to provide more expertise and increase their value to be able to perform more than one job. Diverse skill sets can help your employees transfer to open positions in your organization.

What are the 4 training goals? ›

Training Program Goals: 4 Key Areas to Consider
  • Performance Incentives.
  • Employee Development.
  • Process Improvement.
  • Technology Efficiency.
Jun 11, 2018

How much training do we need? ›

Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week.

How do you write a training needs assessment? ›

The Training Needs Assessment Process
  1. Set goals/objectives for the needs assessment.
  2. Evaluate organizational (agency) readiness and identify key roles.
  3. Evaluate prior/other needs assessments.
  4. Prepare project plan.
  5. Inventory the capacity of staff and technology to conduct a meaningful training skills assessment and analysis.

What are the needs of training and development? ›

Training and development helps companies gain and retain top talent, increase job satisfaction and morale, improve productivity and earn more profit. Additionally, businesses that have actively interested and dedicated employees see 41 percent lower absenteeism rates, and 17 percent higher productivity.

How do you evaluate training effectiveness? ›

Evaluate how the training has influenced the learner's performance and delivery at work by using a combination of these methods:
  1. Self-assessment questionnaires.
  2. Informal feedback from peers and managers.
  3. Focus groups.
  4. On-the-job observation.
  5. Actual job performance key performance indicators (KPIs)
Feb 21, 2023

What is the most common type of employee training? ›

Orientation training is the one a new hire gets when they first join the company. It is the most common type of employee training because it's necessary for a smooth transition. It mainly consists of welcoming the new employees and introducing them to the company.

What are the different types of training explain? ›

Types of Training – 4 Usual Types: Induction Training, Job Training, Training for Promotion and Refresher Process. Training is the systematic process of enhancing the job related skills, attitude and knowledge of personnel. It enables employees to develop and rise within the organisation, increase their market value.


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