SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — Volvo Construction Equipment's Shippensburg plant is partnering with the Franklin County Career & Technology Center to help train the work force of the future.
With a steep learning curve in the manufacturing realm and a job shortage, Andy Williford of Volvo is hoping to tap into local resources at FCCTC.
"The skills necessary to work in a modern manufacturing environment are specialized, and it's important for us to provide for people in our community to get exposure to these very technical, very detailed skill requirements," said Williford, vice president of human resources/Operations Americas at Volvo.
"So in working together, we feel like this investment will help us meet future needs as it relates to resources with folks that will have the skill level required to meet the demands of our customers," he said.
"It's just going to be a win-win situation," said Keith Yohn, administrative director of the Franklin County Career and Technology Center. "Volvo is the first company that we have partnered with, and the hope is we can pull some more companies in and work with them because that creates such a great community atmosphere along with an economic-development atmosphere in the area."
The material and equipment needed for the program will be purchased through a $50,000 donation from Volvo. Volvo also is offering its manufacturing expertise by assisting with the course structure and curriculum design. The program is slated to be offered by the next school year.
Yohn said a lot of manufacturers seem to have difficulty finding people who possess solid entry-level job skills related to assembling, seaming and welding.
"That's why we decided to partner," Yohn said. "There's nobody around here that will be able to teach them the things Volvo will. There's nobody around here with jigs and hydraulics for assembly which will promote students in related programs like machinery and electronics."
With a shortage of manpower in the manufacturing industry, Volvo and other manufacturers are looking at creative ways to develop the next generation of workers.
"The idea at Volvo, and really among other manufacturers in Franklin County, is that it's important that we work to develop a strong work force within this labor shed so it can expand the expansions that are happening not only here at Volvo, but across all manufacturers in our region," Williford said.
Yohn said not only will the FCCTC students benefit from learning state-of-the art technology, but adults from Penn State Mont Alto's continuing education class also will learn a wealth of information.
"More and more of our students are coming in, and we're trying to technologically advance them and provide opportunities for them to either go directly into the work force with their skills or onto post-secondary education and expand on the skills they learned here," Yohn said. "It definitely is becoming higher tech."
The partnership comes on the heels of Volvo's March announcement to invest $100 million into its Shippensburg facility over the next two years. The investment will help strengthen Volvo Construction Equipment's position within the North American market by localizing production of additional products and relocating its North American sales and rental businesses to Shippensburg.
The move will create more than 200 additional jobs over the next couple of years.