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Workforce Training

Alamo Academies: Lily Ibarra, trainee.(Jon King Keisling)

June 13, 2013


Facing a shortage of qualified workers in its new gas-turbine factory in Charlotte, N.C., this engineering and electronics multinational decided to create its own, to the benefit of young workers in the community. In 2011, Siemens launched an apprenticeship program that recruits noncollege-track seniors from nearby Olympic High School. The students take classes at Central Piedmont Community College, in addition to working in the plant for an hourly wage. At the end of the apprenticeship, they have associate degrees and guaranteed jobs at Siemens. The program has proven so successful that Siemens has built in funding for five years, and President Obama has held it up as an example to follow in skills training.

Cincinnati Health Careers Collaborative

Staring down an acute nursing shortage, four hospital systems in the greater Cincinnati area decided to develop their talent pipeline from within, rather than poach from each other. Under the program, employers have paid the tuition of more than 500 incumbent workers—including nurses’ aides, administrators, even food-service staff—as they trained at local community colleges, and have recruited 3,000 unemployed, underemployed, and displaced job-seekers to get an entry-level certificate for their first job in health care. The sustained investment in the existing workforce distinguishes the collaborative and resulted in a 12 percent return on investment through diminished turnover and recruitment costs.

Alamo Academies

The Alamo Academies in San Antonio demonstrate what can be achieved when industry partners with the community to find job solutions. Lockheed Martin approached the Alamo Community Colleges a few years ago about recruiting more young people to work on heavy aircraft maintenance. The Aerospace Academy was born, allowing local students to spend two years taking classes that count toward a high school diploma and a community-college degree, at no cost, and to get hands-on experience with a paid summer internship at Lockheed. The program has been so effective that other industries, such as health care and IT, are following suit to create similar academies.



The IT services firm in Fairfax, Va., recognized that its field could be fickle: The skills of laid-off IT workers are often out-of-date, and recent college graduates are frequently not job-ready. So Multivision engineered a training effort that uniquely targets white-collar workers and places them in good-paying jobs. In 2009, the company launched a 10-week program that offers 40 hours a week of free classroom training to eligible candidates vetted by Multivision based on their past experience, education, or aptitude. The program worked so well that Multivision’s corporate clients now come to the firm to find talent, saving approximately 20 percent on recruitment costs.


See the finalists in each categoryDigital Innovation | Expanding Exports | Workforce Training | Health Care | Financing Infrastructure | Disrupting Government | Regional Economic Strategies | Education | Energy

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