Innovations in workforce development: Partnering schools with industries

By Diana Quintero, for Brookings

Jul 27, 2016

On July 7th, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted a half-day conference on the global context of modern manufacturing.

The event included a segment on innovations in workforce development with Ashley A. Smith, a reporter from Inside Higher Ed who moderated the segment panel; Mary Ann Pacelli, Workforce Development Manager with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership; Walter Siegenthaler, Executive VP of the Max Daetwyler Corporation; and Leah Gilliam, Strategy, Innovation, and Education VP of Girls Who Code.

The panelists addressed alternative education models, skill gaps in the manufacturing workforce, and the role that corporate partnerships can play in education. All panelists spoke of the need to increase student awareness of their industries. Ms. Pacelli declared that the largest workforce development struggle is one of re-advertising and re-publicizing manufacturing as a career opportunity.

Siegenthaler stated that there are “still a lot of misconceptions about manufacturing, the three D’s: dirty, dangerous, and dark,” and “awareness in high schools is not there [about] what manufacturing has to offer.”

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