Job Vacancies and STEM Skills

STEM skills, particularly those associated with high levels of educational attainment, are in high demand among employers.

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The Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board has used Industry Clusters as a framework for thinking about the talent needs of the regional economy.

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Partnership To Help Build Skilled Workforce

on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 15:46.

Madison, WI (MorningAg Clips, February 24, 2015):  To kick off national Engineers Week, The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) announced a significant partnership to increase K-12 students' access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs. Through a $400,000 commitment, Dow will fund PLTW programs in 17 schools in Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. These 17 schools enroll more than 14,000 students, and about half of these students are minority students.

Dow's support of PLTW furthers the Company's commitment to building the workforce of tomorrow in the communities where its employees live and work. Through PLTW's hands-on, activity-based K-12 programs, students become engaged in STEM fields while developing critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills – skills identified as crucial by today's employers.

"STEM-based careers fuel innovation at Dow. We are proud to partner with Project Lead The Way to bring curriculum into our communities' classrooms that will support teachers by giving them the tools they need to teach STEM subjects, and get students excited about pursuing STEM careers," said Rob Vallentine, director of Corporate Citizenship at Dow. "The students of today represent the future of this country's economic prosperity, and Dow is committed to supporting the STEM workforce of tomorrow in our communities."

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs by 2018 as a result of a lack of qualified, trained workers. Coincidentally, STEM jobs are expected to grow by 17 percent, nearly double the rate of jobs in other sectors. Expanding access to STEM education for underrepresented minority students is also of great interest as only 10 percent of U.S. scientists and engineers come from underrepresented minority groups.

"The United States is facing a significant skills gap, and Dow is taking action to fill that gap. They are leading by example," said PLTW President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram. "Not only are they creating skilled jobs in our economy, but they are helping to develop the workforce to fill those jobs. We are grateful for Dow's support of Project Lead The Way, which is giving students across the country access to high-quality educational opportunities."


Top Ten Workplace Trends for 2015

on Monday, 23 February 2015 12:52.

Bowling Green, OH (SIOP, February 2015 Issue):  SIOP has released its annual Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2015! Based on a survey of the Society's nearly 8,000 members, the top 10 workplace trends for the coming year are:

#10. Changes in Laws May Affect Employment-Related Decisions: Changes in current laws and regulations and the passage of new ones—such as the Affordable Care Act, updated Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs requirements, and state laws on marijuana use—have the potential to affect numerous HR and organizational practices. I-O psychologists will continue to ensure the programs they implement align with these and related legal standards.

#9. Growth of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs: The measure of a good company has traditionally been its revenue or stock price, but more companies today are also being judged by what they give back to their local and global communities. CSR is becoming a business requirement for organizations that want to be seen as responsible citizens. I-O psychologists are finding that these actions affect how people feel about companies, their purchasing behaviors, and the attitudes of the employees who work there.

#8. Changing Face of Diversity Initiatives: Simply having a diverse workforce may not be enough to give your organization an edge in today's workplace. To make the most of a diverse workforce, leaders need to know how to properly utilize such diversity. I-O psychologists are finding that programs which value and leverage such concepts as inclusion and equality have more effective managers, drive greater productivity, and attract a more diverse workforce.

#7. Emphasis on Recruiting, Selecting for, and Retaining Potential: I-O psychologists expect that organizations will need to increase emphasis on recruiting and selecting new employees this year, while still retaining top talent, due in part to a strengthening economy. I-O psychologists will continue to contribute to these processes through the development and validation of legally defensible selection procedures and training/development programs as well as the identification of key attributes of the roles, positions, and organizations that top talent find most desirable.


Cash Saved At Gas Pumps Is Staying In Pockets

on Thursday, 19 February 2015 11:40.

Madison, WI (, February 18, 2015):  In recent months, the stage seemed set for American consumers to do what they've traditionally done best: Spend money — and drive the economy.

The lowest gas prices in five years had given people more spending money. Employers added over 1 million jobs from November through January, the best three-month pace in 17 years. Businesses even raised pay in December. Economists had forecast that last week's retail sales report for January would show a healthy rise.

And yet — to the surprise of analysts — consumers have held their wallets closely.

Even though Americans spent $6.7 billion less at gas stations in January than they had two months earlier, the extra cash didn't get spent anywhere else: Retail sales, excluding gas, fell slightly from November to January.

The unexpected pullback provided evidence that drivers had used their extra money to further rebuild their savings and reduce their debts — a trend that began after the financial crisis and recession.


Manufacturing Day Events Saw Nearly 400,000 Participants

on Friday, 13 February 2015 13:22.

Madison, WI (Manufacturing Business Technology, February5, 2015): Last year's Manufacturing Day campaign involved nearly 400,000 participants at 1,679 total events, organizers said, smashing participation goals for the year.

More than 260,000 people joined live events hosted by manufacturers between Oct. 3 and Dec. 12, while the remainder joined a dozen virtual Manufacturing Day events. The largest virtual event, hosted by Discovery Education and Alcoa, involved more than 100,000 students.

Last year marked the third annual Manufacturing Day series, during which more than a thousand manufacturers held open house events to showcase their shop floor technology and career options to students, teachers, parents and other community members.

Organizers also noted President Obama attended his first Manufacturing Day event, holding a town hall in Indiana on Oct. 3 that coincided with a presidential declaration marking Manufacturing Day 2014.

"With successful efforts like Manufacturing Day, we're acting now to take the promise of a career in manufacturing directly to communities across the country," said National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons.

Timmons will begin his 2015 State of Manufacturing tour, meanwhile, this week with a stop at Purdue University.

Although recent federal numbers showed the largest compensation increase in the manufacturing sector in three years, and despite a report showing workers in manufacturing make 11 percent more on average than their non-manufacturing counterparts, manufacturers remain concerned about a growing U.S. trade deficit and a lack of skilled workers needed to fill manufacturing jobs.


Hot Jobs And Hiring Trends

on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 10:59.

Madison, WI (, February 5, 2015):  After a strong economic year in 2014, many are predicting steady economic growth and hiring in 2015. Randstad U.S., one of the world's largest staffing organizations, released its study on the hottest jobs in demand for 2015.

I had the chance to discuss the hot jobs in manufacturing, how aspiring workers can best fill these positions, how employers can best attract potential workers, and other trends in manufacturing training and hiring with Traci Fiatte, President of Randstad Staffing.

Bridget Bergin (BB): What are some of the hottest jobs in manufacturing and manufacturing-related industries in 2015?

Traci Fiatte (TF): The hottest jobs in manufacturing are largely skilled or highly skilled positions, such as forklift operators, quality control technicians, and production supervisors.

BB: What kinds of skills are necessary for these positions, and how can applicants ensure they are qualified for the job?

TF: The majority of these positions are skilled or highly skilled. A skilled position would usually require an associate's degree, or 12-24 months of specialized training. For a highly skilled position, such as production supervisor, an applicant would want to have a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering.


White House Budget Would Boost Labor Regulators

on Monday, 09 February 2015 10:53.

Madison, WI (, February 4, 2015):  President Obama's fiscal year 2016 budget proposal includes a $1.3 billion funding increase for the Labor Department -- including millions to bolster the department's regulatory oversight agencies.

Of the department's proposed $13.2 billion funding level, $1.9 billion would be allocated to worker protection agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Wage and Hour Division and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The proposals, however, are likely to meet resistance from Republicans, many of whom have expressed concerns about regulatory overreach during the Obama administration.

OSHA, which conducts safety inspections at worksites, would receive funding to improve its enforcement of more than 20 whistleblower protection laws, two top agency administrators wrote.

The agency budget, the officials added, would also allow OSHA to address safety hazards with employers, enhance chemical facility safety and improve its responses to major incidents. More than $3 million would go toward funding OSHA-approved state worker protection plans, as well as toward implementing a rule designed to prevent black lung disease among coal miners.


U.S. Businesses Post Steady Job Gain In January

on Friday, 06 February 2015 10:53.

Madison, WI (, February 4, 2015):  U.S. companies hired at a solid pace last month, a private survey found, the latest sign of steady improvement in the job market.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies added 213,000 jobs last month, a decent increase though also the smallest in four months. The figure suggests Friday's government report will also show a solid burst of hiring. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the government's report will show that employers added 230,000 jobs.

The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report, which includes government agencies.

Businesses have added 200,000 jobs or more in nine of the past 10 months, according to the ADP report.

Manufacturers added 14,000 jobs, down from 23,000 in December. Construction companies hired 18,000 more workers, down from 26,000 the previous month. But services companies ramped up hiring: A category that includes retail, transportation and utilities firms added 54,000 jobs, up from 40,000 in December.


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Education and Skills for the New Economy

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WIB Overview

Founded in 1999 as the successor organization to the Lancaster County Private Industry Council, the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board has a mandate through the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to be the lead organization in Lancaster County for workforce planning, to cooperate with State officials in providing business with locally-validated labor market information, and to arrange for a service delivery system that meets the workforce needs of business and the public alike.



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