Speaker: Companies need to learn from supply chain management

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BELOIT – Companies need to take lessons learned from supply chain management to build their talent pipeline.

That’s what Jason Tyszko, executive director of the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said. Tyszko was the keynote speaker at the Business Education Connection Event held Wednesday at the Eclipse Center.

This year’s event was titled “Building the Talent Pipeline.” In addition to keynote speaker Tyszko, the event featured breakout sessions on mentoring; site visits and industry knowledge; training resources; internships, externships and youth apprenticeships. Businesses as well as representatives from the Janesville, Beloit, Beloit Turner, Clinton, Milton and Parkview school districts attended the event.

It was hosted by the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, Forward Janesville, Rock County 5.0, the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. Sponsors were Blackhawk Technical College, Beloit College and UW-Rock County.

To close the skills gap, Tyszko said businesses need to form successful partnerships with educational institutions and other workforce partners.

For example, he said companies need to get better at forecasting what their labor markets are and what jobs are needed in the future. Companies must be able to predict what new and replacement positions are needed and the skills associated with the positions. Employment forecasting, he said, has been a lost art in the business community.

He also said companies need to partner with non-profits, human services and other agencies to get the workers they need to fill business needs.

“We are all part of a network and need to work toward common objectives,” he said.

Students in high schools and colleges need to know where they can apply to get into jobs or companies of interest, and companies need to identify real career pathways and make them available to those seeking work.

He added that educational institutions need to form partnerships with employers and job networks outside their communities to give students more job options.

There also needs to be a common set of performance measures to see if employers’ partnerships and strategies are working.

Tyszko shared how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s TPM Academy trains companies on how to use the supply chain approach to close the skills gap.

There are six strategies TPM teaches: organizing employer collaboratives; engaging in demand planning; communicating competency and credential requirements; analyzing talent flows; building talent supply chains; and improving performance and continuous improvement.

At the TMC Academy, employers learn to be more sophisticated in communicating what their job requirements are. Many companies have been criticized for layering on more and more credentials to positions as time goes on. Employers need to come together to re-evaluate job necessary hiring requirements.

Once employers have done their homework about their labor needs, they are encouraged to go out and communicate it to their respective communities.

“Use data like in any other part of your business as it relates to continuous improvement,” he said.

Companies need to create maps of where they get talent from such as high schools and community colleges, community based organizations, the military and other groups. Once employers have a good idea where they are getting the talent from, employers need to see if there are more providers to bring on board.

Then companies need to understand all the responsibilities in building talent, getting workers and retaining them. The employers must then identify if their companies are on track to meet employment needs. He suggested keeping a talent pipeline scorecard allows companies to track if people are being retained and if positions are being filled.

“Put them in an easy-to-digest format and share with other businesses and partners,” he said.

For more information on the TPM Academy and other tips for bridging the skills gap, he referred people to the following website: www.TheTalentSupplyChain.org

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