Manufacturers looking to community colleges to fill workforce

Local News

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Benjamin Fechtner studies Mechnical Engineering Technologies at Onondaga Community College. He shared what he he likes about the program.

“We are working in hands on labs both with drafting programs as well as with manufacturing and tools so that we can get experience with what it’s really like on the floor and what it’s going to be like in the office,” Fechtner said.

That is exactly the preparation employers are looking for, particularly in manufacturing. Faculty members are receiving calls looking to hire for a number of open positions.

“We’re hearing from them pretty much every couple of days,” said Applied Technology Department Chair Michael Grieb, “They’re in desperate need of employees. There’s over 500 entry level manufacturing jobs in Onondaga County right now that are going unfilled.”

Enrollment across the country for job ready degree programs has been down. At OCC, faculty members say it’s been flat. That’s what they’re working to address. They’re even starting to reach out to high schools to help students think differently about this field.

“Manufacturing is an exciting field,” said Faculty School Specialist Gino Duca, “We tend to identify manufacturing as kind of roped operation, but it’s not true. There is some repetitive nature of the things that you do, but there’s a lot of exciting things that you do also.”

Fechtner knows this first hand. “I’ve known I wanted to work in CAD forever,” Fechtner said, “Finding a school and a program that can help me immediately get into the workforce and start doing something I love is so exciting.”

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