This was originally published on Forbes.com.
By Frank Britt, CEO Penn Foster, for Grads of LifeVoice
SCRANTON, PA, (July 7, 2017) — Trends in employment have come full circle: For decades in the U.S., the skilled trades—electricians, plumbers, carpenters, mechanics and the like—were the most popular fields of work, providing the majority of jobs for the workforce--until the Information Age. Since this computer-driven era began, students have flocked to STEM programs and degrees, creating a significant gap in the number of skilled trades jobs available and those who can fill them. Over the past several years, this “skills gap,” as it is known, has widened: ManpowerGroup’s 2016/2017 Talent Shortage Survey showed 46 percent of employers are struggling to fill jobs, and skilled trades remain the number one hardest-to-fill positions.
In parallel, both non-college and college-educated millennials are entering the workforce at full speed, with a desire to find meaningful and rewarding work, but they also have a reputation for job hopping. In theory, they don’t seem like ideal candidates for diesel technician positions at a transportation company like Penske Truck Leasing.
Despite their reputation, we’re finding that millions of people in this rising generation have already experienced jobs with dead-end career paths, and value being developed and seeing solid, long-term opportunities laid out before them. So we’re pursuing them in parallel and seeing mutually beneficial results.
Penske Truck Leasing, which operates a 250,000 vehicle fleet, currently employs more than 6,000 technicians at 700-plus service facilities to keep its massive fleet up and running. The company saw the now-obvious skills gap coming more than a decade ago and began planning to address its need to hire 2,000 additional technicians by 2018.
It was the perfect time for Penske to team with Penn Foster to further develop its in-house employee training to create a predictable and accelerated career path for employees seeking quicker advancement in the company. Penske and Penn Foster started working together in 2006, when Penn Foster began to enhance the private transportation company’s in-house training/employee development program.
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