Solutions and new strategies for workforce recruiting

KCMN March Meeting

Got talent? Increasingly, for many manufacturers, finding the talent needed to fill open positions has become more challenging. Join us for our March 7 meeting where we will present speakers who are working on strategies to not only seek out potential employees, but also build a pipeline to increase chances for success.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
7:30-9:00 AM
River Market Event Place, 140 Walnut, KCMO 64106


Greg Kindle, President, Wyandotte Economic Development Council

Wyandotte County: Workforce Solutions Wanted: Economic development used to be all about location, location, location.  Today, it could easily be said it’s all about talent, talent, talent.  Finding the workforce to meet the needs of the business community has become a challenge.  Innovation has largely allowed manufacturers to keep growing but an existing and future talent pipeline is a national issue with local implications.  Wyandotte County Economic Development Council has developed a unique workforce solutions approach that seeks to connect businesses in Wyandotte County with an existing labor pool often overlooked or disconnected from the workforce system and works with the school district to create a future talent pipeline around the industry sectors creating jobs in the county.

Torree Pederson, Executive Director, Greater KC Chapter of NTMA

Building Robots and Ties to Manufacturing BotsKC is a manufacturing workforce development program of the Kansas City National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA). BotsKC students design and build remote controlled robots to face-off in a gladiator-style competition. Through the manufacturing process of bot building, students’ imaginations are captured as they design, build and compete with their own robotic creations. Through this hands-on effort with industry partners, students gain practical knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – all essential skills for manufacturing.

By formalizing ties between schools and manufacturing partners, students gain a better understanding and become enthusiastic about the career possibilities in manufacturing. Manufacturers are able to build valuable industry-school connections and workforce talent pipelines by helping BotsKC teams engineer a lean, mean, fighting machine. In other words, everybody wins.

Timothy Welsh   Executive Director, National Center for Aviation Industry

Industry Talent Supply Chains: New Sources of Aviation Talent Shortages of talent and high costs of talent acquisition are driving a growing national interest in applying supply chain management principles to talent planning management. The use of supply chain techniques in this way has recently been expanded to help the aviation industry mitigate talent shortages in its manufacturing and maintenance sectors.

National industry talent supply chains are employer-driven by design. Qualified education, training and certification organizations are organized into integrated supply chains to provide reliable talent at scale to employers and employer groups.

This presentation will explain the origins and current state of talent supply chains and provide an actual aviation talent supply chain example. Information will also be shared with the audience about various tools and methods now available for enhanced talent planning management.

Shannon Martinez, Program Manager/Recruitment Specialist Workforce AID Kansas Department of Commerce 

Workforce AID (Aligned with Industry Demand):  Kansas businesses report a shortage of qualified, skilled employees.  The Kansas Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Kansas Board of Regents implemented a project to address the skills gap in Kansas through development of a talent pipeline by aligning workforce training and education with industry opportunities and demands.  Workforce AID is nationally recognized by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and supports economic and workforce development by keeping Kansas businesses competitive and promoting a more robust economy.  Workforce AID finds, trains and delivers a skilled and certified workforce.

Cost is $20 for KCMN members, $25 for manufacturing company guests, and $50 for non-mfg company guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign up today BY CLICKING HERE  or contact Donna Gordon  816-304-7958,  This meeting is part 1 of a 3 part series on workforce issues. Sign up for the whole series! Information at

Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center and Missouri Enterprise are our NIST Network Affiliate Sponsors. We welcome all regional manufacturers to join us to make KCMN the central resource for manufacturing company managers and owners who are working to grow and improve their businesses across many functional areas.

Workforce in 2013: Finding the Right Fit

Finding the right person for the Job – KCMN January Meeting Recap

KCMN’s January meeting featured a panel discussion led by John Emmett of Manpower. The featured panelists were Lisa Kist of Robbie Flexibles, Julie Yang-Brethauer of Torotel Products, and Clint Lancaster of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers.   John provided the attendees with Manpower’s Employment Outlook for the first quarter of 2013.  The employment outlook survey indicated that the vast majority of US employers, 72%, intend to hold steady, and 17% plan an increase, and 8% forecasting declines, which is mostly unchaged from the 4th Quarter 2012 outlook, and a slight increase over the first quarter of 2012.  Midwest manufacturers forecast closely mirrors the national outlook, with 17% forecasting gains, which is more positive than the national manufacturing average of 14% forecasting gains.

Training Resources
David Grady from Metropolitan Community College’s Business and Technology program discussed the launch of their Precision Machining Consortium Program that will launch in March 2013.  Their 16 week program concludes with the students being placed in internship opportunities.  Additional participating companies are needed, see the link here  for more information.   Rich Piper from Kansas City Kansas Community College announced plans for utilizing a $2.9 million grant for  KCKCC’s Training for Employment (T4E) program that will focus in part on advanced manufacturing skills and welding certification for the students. Rich said the new Technical Education Center (TEC) is under construction in the former Wal-Mart shopping complex at 65th and State, and hopes to be operational by the end of the year.

All of the panelists emphasized the value of promotional activity not only for the specific position needs, but also for overall positive branding for the company and manufacturing industry overall.   Julie Yang-Brethauer noted that HR professionals should have a broad based budget allocation to promote the company and the opportunities.  She travels to universities with power source engineering grads and always has a full supply of sticky notes, highlighters and other freebies to brand the company and get their name out to the student population.   Lisa Kist noted that about 30% of their recruiting budget is focused on company promotion vs individual position reporting.  While Clint Lancaster noted that the vast majority of the trailer manufacturers are small operations, they partner with the SME, who is launching a series of videos to promote careers in manufacturing. The SME’s educational outreach site Manufacturing is Cool  has some great videos promoting manufacturing. SME also has a YouTube channel.

Some non-traditional recruiting avenues were mentioned by Lisa and Clint.  One strategy is to utilize internal office staff and train them for production positions, since their work habits and reliability are already known.  All speakers stated that retention of people within the company is also a critical part of minimizing the recruiting effort for new employees.  Lisa noted that especially with entry level workers, that having a clear path to advancement is critical in helping workers understand their options and keep them committed to enhancing their skills.  Julie stated that even when workers leave Torotel for a new opportunity, they are not ostracized for that decision, and it is important that they have a positive regard for Torotel for friends or others who may be considering a position with the company.  Torotel also utilizes ‘stay’ interviews instead of exit interviews, as it provides them with valuable feedback on how they can be more responsive to employee issues.   Training new and existing people is a must, even if there is concern that training dollars may be spent on workers who may then leave for other opportunities.  Clint noted, “People may ask what if I pay to train them and they leave? My response is what if you don’t train them and they stay?”

Utilization of interns was discussed, and was  noted that interns provide not only some new ideas and perspectives, but can also be a positive promotional focus for the company, even if they don’t become permanent employees.  However, an intern program where students were not always available for follow up on project work was less successful.

Lisa and Julie both advocated utilization of programs for transitioning active duty military to the civilian workforce as a great source of potential employees. Lisa has worked with James Madril- Johnson County Veterans Employment Representative & Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist for the Kansas Dept. of Commerce – specifically for Machine Operators and Maintenance Techs.   In some cases, tax credits and training dollars are also available to help provide skills enhancement for those who may not fit the full qualification needed.

Best Practices and Takeaways from the Presenters

  • Promote opportunities through a variety of methods, vs. just running ads in the typical career outlets.
  • Make sure your internal HR person, or your recruiter if you are using them, has an accurate assessment of what skills and traits are needed in a successful candidate.
  • Know where your target employees are – and get in front of them. Utilize social media – LinkedIN, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reach a broad audience and make your company more visible to prospective employees.
  • Community service and involvement is a great way to raise visibility and retain employees, who appreciate the opportunity to be part of something bigger than just their department.
  • Make sure your company website is up to date and provides prospective employees with information about the company and the culture.
  • Work with associations in your industry to promote opportunities both in your company and in the wider industry.
  • Get involved with area schools, both high school and higher education, including the counselors, to make them aware of potential career paths.

Bottom line, recruiting employees is not just about finding the right candidate; it’s also about positioning your company to have an inflow of the right people and skills both internally and in the wider marketplace.

Post-Script: Industry Week Magazine just published an article, Solving US Manufacturing’s New Talent Challenge, with more suggestions for the next skills gap in manufacturing: supervisory positions. Read the article here.

Generation Y – Myths and Realities for your Workforce

KCMN September Meeting

While having the right processes and procedures in place is critical to enhancing profitability, there’s a third “P” that can sometimes be the most difficult to get right – People!  Today’s workforce is undergoing a metamorphosis-the values, work habits and experiences of workers can create management challenges.  Join us as we will host speakers who will identify workforce trends, and give you strategies for meeting your workforce challenges.

  • Kirk Young, Job Match Assessment – Employing Gen Y – Are You Prepared?
  • Nathan Goodpasture, Pride Manufacturing, Inc. – Managing Multiple Generations
  • Victoria Ogier, MARC  – Workforce Program Overview And Update

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 7:30 – 9:00 AM
Hilton Garden Inn
520 Minnesota Avenue

Kansas City, Kansas

Our Speakers Will Discuss:  

Nathan Goodpasture, Director of Business Development, Pride Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Attraction & Retention: Creating a path of clear progress on meaningful work.

Incentivizing the risks of long term training.

Overcoming the expectations of Gen Y.

Empowering the Boomers, a consultancy solution.

Shifting the paradigm of American education (Mfg is not plan B).

Learning from local and regional programs that are already working.

Pride Manufacturing is an aggressive custom machining and fabricating company headquartered in the Kansas City, Missouri Metropolitan area. They produce plastic and metal components, tooling, fixtures, weldments and molds for a broad spectrum of industries and applications. Its equipment portfolio is diverse and state-of-the-art, and team comprised of the foremost members of their respective specialties. Clientele choose Pride for the unmatched quality, as well as personalized engineering and logistics solutions that accompany the fulfillment of each production requirement.

Kirk Young, SPHR,  CEO, Job Match Assessment, Inc.

They are coming.  The birth rate in the U.S. spiked starting in 1980 and a new generation as influential as the Baby Boomers is now bringing change with them to work.  Are you prepared?

Workforce Generational Shift:  Demographics drive Destiny.

Is Gen Y Motivated? Getting Gen Y Engaged

Gen Y is Similar to the Boomers

Gen Y’s Life Experience is Different

Gen Y Bring New Challenges to Our Values

Kirk Young, SPHR, is a 26 year HR veteran, who served in nine different roles with Ernst & Young, Unilever and Lear Siegler. Now he is CEO of Job Match Assessment, Inc. where he applies his experience with engagement and job-fit metrics for more than 160 clients in diverse economic sectors.  Kirk has directed the Human Resources and Development functions.  He implements recruiting, performance management, compensation, succession planning, and assessment systems all over the country and in Canada.  He is well experienced in employee and labor relations management.    Mr. Young has an MBA from St. Louis University and a BS Psychology from Emporia State University.  He is MBTI qualified, a DDI certified instructor, and a Strategic Partner of Profiles International.

Victoria Ogier, Workforce Development Project Manager, Mid-America Regional Council

Mid-America Regional Council has launched a Manufacturing Sector Partnership Taskforce to identify skill needs and gaps in the workforce.  Victoria will provide an update on the taskforce’s activities.

Meeting Details:

Cost is $15 for members and $25 for guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Our founding sponsors, Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center  and Missouri Enterprise, will be our sponsors for this event. The event is open to area manufacturers and their suppliers. We invite you to join with us to make KCMN the premier resource for manufacturers.

Sign up no later than September 9 by clicking here  or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958 or

Due to our need to cover the event costs, no shows will be billed. Cancellations will be accepted no later than 3 business days prior to an event. Cancellations of reservations paid by credit card will be assessed a $10 processing fee by the registration service, or contact us for event credit for a future event. You may register as a guest for up to 2 events before membership is required. For questions or comments, please contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958