The new state CNC Machinist Registered Apprenticeship Program is an example of an effective response to the workforce challenges facing business. The problem: the accelerating aging out of the workforce, especially those employees in advanced manufacturing jobs, ones that require both the traditional knowledge of materials and engineering concepts but that now also require advanced computing skills.
The next generation is not getting what it needs in school anymore. As a result, companies find themselves looking at candidates that are just not ready to be productive employees.
With $150,000 in state funding (the first time general-revenue funding has been used for workforce development) and the cooperation of Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership (the former RIMES) and the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, among others, this new program is a start to addressing the shortage facing manufacturers. It is an investment in the state’s intellectual capital that is money well-spent. •