Episode 3 of “FutureWork” premiere yesterday on Fortune.com and Time.com. The episode, titled “Model of the Future,” focuses on a two-year technical program developed by Toyota in central Kentucky that combines real work experience for incoming employees with advanced training in the field of robotics and automation.
As manufacturing jobs “re-shore” back to the U.S., employers like Toyota are working to re-design education to fill millions of highly-technical jobs with people able to do them. In the episode, Kopple looks at the work of Toyota to provide technical education in Georgetown, Ky., with the goal of creating ideally trained employees for their specialized needs.
Experts have called the program the model for the future of technical education, and its success has caught the eye of hundreds of other large manufacturers looking to create similar programs of their own.
The streaming episode is accompanied by a compelling op-ed from National Association of Manufacturers president and CEO Jay Timmons. In the piece, Timmons explains how a growing skills gap is preventing members of the U.S. workforce from filling significant employment opportunities across U.S. manufacturing industries.
“Over the next decade, 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled. Even as our nation strives to get people back to work, a lack of trained workers — often those with trade and technical skills — leaves most manufacturing companies scrambling for talent,” writes Timmons. “This skills gap is a drag on the economy. A shortage of trained employees can slow the growth of our businesses and therefore our economy.” Read the full op-ed here.
“It has been clear for some time that there is a skills gap in manufacturing employment in Kentucky and across the US,” said Greg Higdon, KAM President & CEO. “We are grateful to members like Toyota who have worked successfully to address this gap and ensure a viable pipeline of talent for the future of manufacturing.”
Fortune has partnered with WorkingNation to distribute four episodes of “FutureWork,” a series of digital shorts by award-winning director Barbara Kopple. The films were commissioned by WorkingNation, a new not-for-profit national campaign dedicated to raising awareness of the looming unemployment crisis and skills gap in the United States.
A fourth and final episodes of “FutureWork” will premier on Fortune.com and Time.com in the coming weeks.