Multicounty Partnership Aims to Fill Labor Shortage by Highlighting Appeal of Manufacturing and Skilled Trades

If you really want to make things happen in business, you have to make things. That’s the power and appeal of manufacturing and the skilled trades. Innovators know it. Investors know it. Now the industry needs potential employees to know it.

The Business Development Board of Martin County is proud to represent our community in a regional collaboration to help fill the pipeline of viable workers for vital manufacturing and skilled trade jobs. But before filling the pipeline, the collaborative aims to fill the skills gap. That means getting graduating high school seniors—as well as their parents, teachers and guidance counselors—informed and excited about the local, lucrative and fulfilling careers manufacturing and the skilled trades industries offer.

“Like so many things in life, it comes down to perception,” says Joan Goodrich, executive director of the BDB. “Many people, unfortunately, have an impression of skilled trades and manufacturing that’s outdated. Too often they’re thinking of repetitive labor performed in loud, dirty, dangerous work sites and factories. Yet the vast of majority of today’s industrious businesses are high-tech, highly skilled, highly creative which take place in clean, safe work environments.

“The opportunities are plentiful,” Joan continues, “ and the pay is often very competitive.”

An awareness campaign to celebrate the people who make the things we use—called “Makers of the Treasure Coast”—is unfurling across the region. Through social media, the website, a dedicated YouTube channel and news coverage, the community will meet the dedicated, skilled technicians who are “making it,” by creating the planes, boats, homes, appliances, equipment, and more that we depend on and enjoy.

Partners alongside the BDB in the effort include:

· Indian River State College

· CareerSource Research Coast

· Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County

· Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation

· Indian River County Chamber of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development

“This effort comes at an excellent time, and not just because of the available job opportunities,” says Joan. “In Martin County, there’s a tremendous parallel and complementary effort gaining speed to identify and develop workforce talent. Stuart/Martin Chamber’s Career Connect program, Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County, Economic Council of Martin County, Martin County School District, Project Lift and others are working together to prepare people of all ages for success in the marketplace. And on the other side of that experience, manufacturing and skilled trades can offer them lifechanging opportunities. It’s exciting to see it all come together—and a great honor to contribute to the effort.”

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