KCMA is Committed to Workforce Development
As the largest national trade association representing cabinet manufacturers and suppliers to the industry, KCMA is committed to assisting and supporting its member companies as they address skills gap issues and workforce development opportunities.
The KCMA Workforce Development Initiative provides resources for manufacturers to build their skilled workforce pipeline by:
- Communicating and providing information about workforce development resources at the national, regional, and local levels through this website
- Sharing manufacturing industry workforce development best practices
- Connecting member companies with workforce development resources and organizations
- Promoting involvement by KCMA member companies in workforce development-related activities
About the Skills Gap Issue and Workforce Development Opportunities
Numerous articles and studies have been written over the past 20 years about the expected skills gap challenge. Today, the cabinet manufacturing industry is facing head-on the workforce challenges brought on by factors including: 1) Societal norms dictating college education as the pathway to career success; 2) an education system focused on preparing all students for college; 3) a decreased emphasis on and funding for career technical education (CTE); 4) the outdated image of manufacturing as dirty, unsafe, and not technologically advanced; and in some communities 5) the growing Opioid Crisis affecting labor force availability.
The chart shows where manufacturers currently recruit their new employees. "Word of mouth" and referrals from current employees should always be an important recruiting source. However, in this period of low unemployment and keen competition for workers with little to no experience, manufacturers must change the focus of their recruiting efforts to tap other sources.
Invest in developing active relationships with local high schools, tech schools, and community colleges. With the assistance of teachers and counselors, identify students with an interest and aptitude for hands-on learning. Serve as mentors and informal advisors to these students. Offer plant tours and opportunities to hear from current employees about their jobs. Where possible, create opportunities for internships, pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships to engage these students.
Activities like MFG Day provide opportunities for students and those influencing career pathway decisions (parent, teachers, counselors) to see today's manufacturing environment and work opportunities. Check out the MFG Day page for more information about this annual industry celebration.
Then, be sure to visit the pages below for information and resources to support your company's short-term recruiting and longer-term workforce development efforts. Watch for Skills Gap and Workforce Development updates in the KCMA bi-weekly newsletter.