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Factory Jobs, Too, Increasingly Requiring a College Education

“There are no jobs for high school graduates at Siemens today.”

That’s how Eric Spiegel, former president and chief executive of Siemens U.S.A., described the situation at a recently opened Siemens Energy production plant in Charlotte to the New York Times. With computers in place “about every 20 or 30 feet” at the factory, job requirements have increased, demanding a level of formal education that would have been unnecessary for most factory positions just a few years ago.

Siemens isn’t alone in requiring an education beyond a high school diploma; factories of all kinds, employing computers and other state-of-the-art technology throughout the facilities, are increasingly demanding workers who have received a post-high school education. With degree attainment rates low among the available workforce, the dreaded skills gap rears its head.

The conventional path to a bachelor’s degree, the article notes, is not always the best solution for these jobs, however. That’s why colleges have started to partner with businesses to make apprenticeship programs available to students, which provide the education and training needed to shrink the skills gap. With both federal and state governments joining the push to increase apprenticeship opportunities—the federal government has apportioned $265 million to encourage such programs and many states have likewise expressed commitments to spur apprenticeship program expansion—it’s clear there’s growing traction to reenergize the once-stigmatized career track.     

To read the full article by the New York Times, click here.

CAEL helps bridge the gap between business demands and workforce and education attainment. For more information on how CAEL is helping businesses across the country create talent supply systems and meet workforce needs, click here.


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