Made in Memphis hosted myself, Taylor Tagg and Tim Chhim on February 12th as we spoke about about Learning from Adversity and Defeat, one of Napoleon Hill's Success Principles. The goal of Made in Memphis is for local manufacturers, educational institutions, and Workforce Investment Network and its partners to work together to create a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the hiring needs of manufacturing employers, and to prepare local job seekers with the skills they need to get good jobs in manufacturing. The Industrial Readiness Training (IRT) course is a centerpiece of the Made in Memphis Initiative.
IRT is a four week program at Southwest Tennessee Community College designed to prepare individuals for jobs in local manufacturing and industry. The training teaches and measures foundational technical, academic, and interpersonal knowledge and skills that have been identified by local industry leaders as critical to long-term employee success. This knowledge includes soft skills like safety, communication and team-building and hard skills like basic mechanics and math.
Applicants are assessed using both ACT's WorkKeys and mechanical skills aptitude testing. Students who successfully complete the IRT program have demonstrated significant improvement in both test scores.
IRT also offers much greater odds of landing a job over hit-and-miss efforts like most job fairs, resume submissions and even interviews. Industrial Readiness Training is like a tryout under the watchful eye of an employer who's looking to hire.
Each Industrial Readiness Training class is conducted on behalf of an employer who needs new workers. Southwest won't start a new class cycle unless the school can match it with a company wanting to hire.
In the first year of the program, manufacturers using the class have been Blues City Brewery, Kruger (USA), Electrolux, Unilever, Bryce Corp, and Solae.
From January through August, 2012, 251 job seekers have completed the IRT course. Of these, 152 have received job offers from Memphis area manufacturing employers. Ninety-three per cent of those receiving job offers were citizens of Memphis and Shelby County. From May through August, WIN has funded the tuition for 140 students.
Many more companies may participate over the next three years, when local manufacturers will need to fill about 4,000 positions according to the Greater Memphis Chamber and WIN/Tennessee Career Center.