Ariens Offers Model to Bridge Skills Gap

Updated Jan 2, 2013
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During the years, I’ve spent considerable time writing and reporting on the manufacturing skills gap.

It remains a topic of concern for the industrial sector in Wisconsin as business, education and political leaders continue to work to develop solutions to a problem that stems from manufacturers struggling to fill open jobs while thousands of unemployed workers search for employment but don’t have the necessary skills to make them immediately viable candidates.

During the course of my coverage of the topic, Dan Ariens, president and chief executive officer of privately held Ariens, a Brillion-based outdoor power equipment manufacturer, has been held up as an example of a top-level leader who is taking noteworthy steps in dealing with the issue.

Ariens is more than willing to share the story of how his company, during the course of many years, has dealt with the situation. He will deliver the keynote address and also will take part in a break-out session at the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s Manufacturing Matters! Conference on Feb. 28 in Milwaukee.

Getting students to develop problem solving skills has been essential in the success Ariens has exhibited in attracting key talent. “We need to educate kids on how to solve problems versus teaching them a skill. That can be done in our plant,” Ariens said.

Educational systems, from high schools to technical schools and universities, aren’t broken but are in need of greater focus, he added. “What keeps getting missed is that local business that are connected with their high schools, technical schools or university systems need to get much more engaged in those schools and in curriculum support so that it’s hands on, minds on,” Ariens said.

Read the full article here.

 – By Rich Rovito

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