The Los Angeles Times had an interesting article today by Nicholas Riccardi on the long-term unemployed. According to his statistics, long-term unemployment among college graduates has nearly tripled since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000.
"Even as overall hiring is picking up and economic growth remains strong, industries are transforming at a rapid pace as they adjust to intense competition and technological change. That means skilled jobs can quickly become obsolete, while others are outsourced. Educated workers are increasingly subject to the job insecurities and disruptions usually plaguing blue-collar laborers. Although a college education is still one of a worker’s best assets, it’s no guarantee that a worker’s skills will match demands of a shifting job market."
Manufacturers know very well how the pace of change has accelerated. More and more companies are implementing lean manufacturing and lean enterprise techniques in order to compete effectively within their industry. We are investing heavily in employee training to give our workforce the skills they need to help us succeed. Hiring new team members often means an extensive training regimen before they are fully up to speed.
It is also important to realize the value of that training and new knowledge. The workforce is no longer a group of people simply assembling a product; they are a team on the lookout for waste and looking for a better way of doing business.
We must ensure we leverage the power of that knowledge.