There's a growing shortage of qualified skilled workers who are applying for manufacturing jobs in the stateline. Many classified ads for manufacturing positions go unanswered. Now, a new initiative called "manufacturing boot camp" is creating an opportunity for potential employees to get the skills they need to get hired.
State and local leaders announced the start of a training program on Monday that will teach potential workers the skills they need to work in manufacturing.
"We're supporting manufacturing boot camps, an intensive four-week instruction program that teaches basic skills to help prospective workers prepare for employment. Individuals will be given opportunities following boot camp to enter advanced skill training," said Jack Lavin, Director of the IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The manufacturing boot camps will train at least 50 people for no charge at Rock Valley College and Highland Community College. The classes are paid for by a federal grant for workforce investment in Illinois. The program is designed to fill part of a critical skills shortage. It's estimated that northern Illinois manufacturers will have annual shortages of more than 400 workers each year.
"Isn't it amazing when we have a relatively high unemployment rate we can't find people to come to the table?" asks Dr. Jack Becherer, president of Rock Valley College.
There are more than 300 manufacturing jobs within 30 miles of Rockford posted online. Many of these classified ads go unanswered.
"The bad news is we have a critical skills shortage in Rockford. The good news is we have jobs that can be filled," said Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.
Officials hope this new boot camp will create a skilled workforce that can fill some manufacturers’ needs.
Anyone interested in enrolling in these manufacturing training sessions should stop by or call a workforce investment office in Winnebago (815) 395-6673, Stephenson (815) 235-1801, or Ogle County (815)562-3478.