As any successful business owner knows, you have to have a plan.
So, for instance, if you know that your product line has to change, you invest in new product development, use the new product to find new customers and build up the supply chain to support the retooling you have undertaken.
So it is that a number of local enterprises have taken to investing in education, recognizing that the skills gap is going to leave a gaping hole in their workforce when their current employees start retiring in droves (as the baby boom is starting to do). Specifically, they are supporting educational efforts rooted in their needs and which produce graduates of high school, community college and university ready to join the workforce with skills (and sometimes the tools, too) that are up to date.
In a front-page story in this week’s edition of PBN, Alex and Ani LLC, Gilbane Building Co., Grainger Inc. and Taco Inc. all are highlighted for their investments in programs that range from weeks to a full four years, made at the William M. Davies Jr. Career and Technical High School, the Community College of Rhode Island, the New England Institute of Technology, Rhode Island College and Roger Williams University. All of the investments support educational programs that are linked to workforce needs in the building, electronics and jewelry manufacturing industries.
What sets these efforts apart is the commitment made both by these enterprises and the educational institutions to create an effective job-development partnership, one that invests in Rhode Island’s most precious asset – its people.