Unique Educational Partnership Addresses Skilled Labor Shortage in Houston County

Unique Educational Partnership Addresses Skilled Labor Shortage in Houston County

We’ve transformed how we do business. Increased demand and the need to compete in an ever-changing marketplace has made us reimagine how we go to market, putting greater emphasis on things like efficiency and customization for our retail customers. As a result, we’ve upgraded and added new equipment across our facilities.

Change is good, but it has required us to think differently, not only about our equipment and processes, but about our people. Training our current associates on new ways of working is important so they can continue to thrive. It also means recruiting new talent and finding skilled workers who understand the technical aspects of our operations to minimize disruptions and downtime.

Our Perry plant is a great example of how we were able to think outside of the box when faced with these challenges. In Houston County and throughout Central Georgia, demand for industrial maintenance mechanics is alarmingly high. This holds true across the country, where nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed in the next decade, and 2 million manufacturing jobs are expected to go unfilled due to the shortage of skilled labor.

We decided to do something about this shortage and partnered with the Houston County Board of Education, Houston County Career Academy (HCCA) and Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) to expand opportunities for students throughout Houston County by introducing an industrial maintenance educational program to high school students. This first-of-its-kind program addresses local workforce needs by connecting students with technical classroom training and employment opportunities upon graduation within the community.

Once students have completed the program, they are eligible to interview for Frito-Lay’s apprenticeship program, which pairs entry-level associates with mentors at our Perry facility for on-the-job training while they work to complete their associate’s degree.

Frito-Lay is the primary sponsor for the HCCA Industrial Maintenance Lab, providing equipment and input on curriculum design, as well as guest lecturers on a variety of topics. We strongly believe in this program because it gives graduating seniors the right tools and experience needed to hit the ground running.

For us, it’s about ensuring we have a pipeline of talent to fill critical roles now and in the future, so our growth and expansion can continue. More importantly, it’s about giving students a career path in a field that is in high demand – whether they ultimately work for us or for another manufacturer.

Our hope is that unique staffing solutions like the HCCA Industrial Maintenance program in Perry, Georgia. can be a model for other parts of the country, providing opportunities for even more young people interested in highly skilled manufacturing jobs.


Source: Central Georgia Technical College Career Services data, the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative Report and Andrea Griner, CGTC Vice President for Economic Development
Source: Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute http://www.nam.org/Newsroom/Facts-About-Manufacturing/ 

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