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.

Education and Training for Manufacturing Success

KCMN’s January 2012 Education Forum featured four higher education institutions, and for manufacturing companies, who discussed their approach on building a 21st century manufacturing team.

The four presenting schools Johnson County Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Metropolitan Community College – Business & Technology, and Pittsburg State University, all emphasized their desire to be responsive to the needs of the region’s manufacturers.  For example, Pittsburg State utilizes an industry review board to look at ways to improve the curriculum and respond to changes in the marketplace.  KCK Community College, JCCC and MCC can tailor customized training programs for even small employee groups.  The community colleges emphasized that a program of study could be developed outside of a traditional degree program, which traditionally has more appeal to a working adult with additional responsibilities.   For employees looking to take their careers to the next level, Pittsburg State has developed a program to work with students who have earned a technical associates degree to earn a Bachelor’s degree that includes both technical and managerial coursework.

One area of discussion was improving front line supervisory skills.  Torotel was very pleased that their partnership with JCCC greatly improved all measures of behavior and leadership skills of their supervisory people, as measured by a pre and post training employee survey.  As a result of better supervisory behavioral and leadership skills – communication, problem solving, delegate, interpersonal skills, feedback, change, authority, and accountability the percentage also improved in 25% and better in five months.  This was accomplished despite a limited budget for training.

Cost of training programs is always a concern in an era of tight budgets. JCCC works with KS Workforce Partnership and can help you determine if training funds from the state are available.  The school also can serve in partnership with MCC when there is a cross state need identified, and they are working towards more cooperation.  KCK Community College’s Rich Piper will identify the right institution for your needs, and will recommend another institution if the in-state tuition makes the program too expensive.  Pittsburg State offers in-state tuition to MO residents in counties in the Metro KC area.

An extended discussion focused on the needs to increase the worker pipeline.  Ben Boone of ATK Small Caliber Systems says that going through the process of Lean increases stress on the labor force, and increased skills attainment by the workforce is critical to making the effort successful.  Forty percent or more of skilled workers are eligible or approaching eligibility for retirement.  Rich Piper noted the declining state of shop classes and other hands on programs at the high school level.  In schools without these kinds of outlets, there is a much higher rate of drop-outs, especially among boys. Tom Goodpasture of Pride Manufacturing stated that getting involved in education and the development of the next generation of workers is critical as well.  He noted that ‘If you are not at the table, you are likely to end up on the menu”

All of the manufacturing company panelists agreed that having a plan for both current and future workers was important.  As Dr. John Iley of Pittsburg State noted, classroom work can only cover so much.  Students also need co-op and internship opportunities to apply what they are learning.

Jason Grove with Dimensional Innovations has hired and continues to hire Pittsburg State interns and grads, and has been very happy with the results.  Developing and running an intern program is challenging, but it also carries many rewards, including new perspectives on the business and new enthusiasm from the younger workers. He stressed the importance of forming a two-way relationship with your educational partner. When both sides benefit, the outcomes are greatly improved.

Tom Goodpasture with Pride Manufacturing has had an active training program in his facility in order to respond to growing demand for skilled workers.  It is vital to cross train employees, and to utilize training as way to keep workers engaged. Tom also strongly recommended involvement in both the national and local dialog.  Elected leaders need to understand the concerns of industry, and appreciate the feedback.

Ben Boone emphasized that it is critical to capture the knowledge of older workers, and a key way to do this is by training them to capture their processes.  For example, MCC offers a course in digital literacy where older workers can learn to use excel and other technology to help document their work.   The manufacturing panelists strongly emphasized talking up education to your workers, and making sure that the culture values those who continue to improve their skills.

All of the speakers emphasized that the worker shortage is only going to get worse.  It is important to do what you can to encourage both improved skill sets/cross training of current workers, but also finding ways to advocate for earlier involvement, at the high school and even junior high level.  As a nation, we have avoided tracking kids into particular areas, but a range of skill sets is being ignored at the peril of our future competitiveness in manufacturing in the US.   If all of the jobs that went to China returned to the US, we would not have the workforce to fill them.

Education and Training Forum

KCMN January Meeting
Learn how the region’s educational institutions can help you build a stronger workforce

KCMN is kicking off the new year with an opportunity for you to learn about education and training programs designed for manufacturing employers, and give you an opportunity to provide input to the region’s educational institutions.  The meeting will feature speakers from 4 regional education providers, who will also include a manufacturer that has utilized each of their programs to talk about their experience and benefits.

 Educational Institutions and Speakers

  • Johnson County Community College, and Julie Brethauer, Human Resource Manager at Torotel
  • Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Technical Education Center, and Tom Goodpasture, CEO, Pride Manufacturing
  • Metropolitan Community College Business and Technology Campus, and Ben Boone, Supervisor, B3 Machine Shops and Flex-Pro Shop, ATK Small Caliber Systems, Lake City Ammunition Plant
  • Pittsburg State University Career Services/College of Technology, and Jason Grove, Vice President of Operations, Dimensional Innovations

January 10, 2012
7:30 – 9:15 AM
Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota, Kansas City Kansas


7:30 AM – Breakfast and sign in
7:40 AM – Presentations by educational providers, and case studies on how a manufacturer has utilized their program to improve their workforce
8:40-9:15 AM – Chance to meet one on one with representatives from the four educational institutions

Cost is $15 for members and $25 for guests. Guests may attend 2 meetings before having to join as a member.  Sign by January 6 by clicking here , or contact Donna Gordon at 816-304-7958.   Due to a need to cover costs, no shows will be billed.

 The Center for Business and Technology at Johnson County Community College is the center for all your training needs. The center provides training that spans nearly every functional area of a successful business. Our expansive array of programs and customized training sets us apart from the competition. In addition, our expert instructors and quality curriculum are unmatched in meeting the needs of Kansas City’s most successful individuals, businesses and organizations.

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Technical Education Center (TEC) offers over 20 hands-on technical skill training programs during the day which lead to certificates and employment in office and computer technology, service and health occupations, or trade and industrial fields. Anyone wanting to improve his/her employment potential including college graduates, home makers, dislocated workers, high school seniors, those no longer in school, and senior citizens will receive the hands-on technical education that employers want. TEC curriculum is aligned with business and industry standards. Advanced students may participate in work-based learning experiences or internships. Leadership skills are also developed through opportunities with national student organizations.

Metropolitan Community College Business & Technology Campus is one of five Metropolitan Community College campuses. Located off Front Street and I-435 just northeast of downtown Kansas City, MCC-BTC is home to eight major technical programs. Manufacturing skills are taught in the campus’ Precision Machining, Engineering Technology (CADD and Prototyping), Welding, and Industrial Technology (Industrial Maintenance, Industrial Electrical, Instrumentation & Controls and Millwright) programs. The campus is discussing developing programs in Industrial Fabrication and Biomanufacturing. Students benefit from instructors with significant years of industry experience. The college is fully accredited, has multiple articulation agreements with baccalaureate and labor partners and a variety of financial aid and scholarship options.

Pittsburg State University is one of the premiere universities in the Midwest and home to four distinct colleges. Each of our colleges (College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, and College of Technology) is nationally known for the quality of its programs, faculty and students. Pittsburg State offers more than 150 academic programs for its 7200 students, and provides the opportunity to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree. The College of Technology offers15 different program areas to students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, and are designed (1) to prepare for employment in business and industry in managerial and supervisory positions; (2) to prepare for employment as technologists and technicians; (3) to prepare teachers and supervisors in vocational-technical education, technology education, and industrial training.