Manufacturing has long been a crucial economic engine fueling America's ability to grow and compete internationally, yet today there are more than three million skilled manufacturing positions that are unfilled and twice as many "disconnected" youth who are neither working nor in school. Several factors are involved, but one critical aspect is often overlooked, and that's the connection between the growing employment gap in advanced manufacturing and a lack of skills-based education in high schools today. Research shows that young people aren't aware that lucrative technical careers exist, don't know how to get these jobs, don't have access to relevant training programs and sometimes all of the above.
Since 2000, Wisconsin-based GPS Education Partners (GPS) has been committed to putting high school juniors and seniors securely on the path to success in high-demand, well-paying careers. Recently, GPS launched Credentialed Work-Based Learning, a 24-month program that provides students with immersive, state-of-the-art technical education and training at exclusive education centers, located onsite at manufacturing facilities and staffed by state-licensed instructors, plus structured, relevant apprenticeships with individual skills coaches and mentors. This ground-breaking program accelerates education and careers in a unique collaboration that brings together school districts looking to increase the success of their students; technical colleges that strive to build a pipeline of prepared students; and manufacturing businesses seeking to close the employment gap by mentoring and nurturing potential new hires.
"The core of the Credentialed Work-Based Learning program is preparing young people for success with a solid education, a career plan with purpose and employability skills for life," said Stephanie Borowski, President and CEO. "Today, 100% of our graduates earn industry-recognized certificates, and 80% who pursue advanced manufacturing careers are hired by companies at which they were trained. That success is driving us to expand our reach beyond Wisconsin so that we can partner with more businesses, schools and communities to prepare more students with the technical and essential skills they need to thrive in today's workforce."