SPRINGFIELD — A shrinking American workforce needs people to fill the jobs being left behind by retirees.

With an average of 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, there aren’t enough people filling those jobs fast enough. 

These days, many kids coming out of high school are more concerned with going to college for a social experience rather than the end result of starting their careers. 

At OTC, programs there are set up to get students into a job as quickly as possible, while still giving them quality training. The director of OTC’s Center for Workforce Development is Sherry Coker, and she says two of those programs are Aspire and Skillup. 

Aspire is targeted for at-risk youth between the ages of 16-24. 

Skill UP is designed for those who qualify for food stamps and must be at least 18. 

Coker says they have programs for the medical field, but they have expanded their efforts recently. 

“In addition to healthcare, we have branched out and we are focusing our certified production technician — what we call the manufacturing technician program — which will help get individuals job opportunities in the manufacturing sector,” Coker says. 

If people want to go that route, Coker says it doesn’t take long to see results. 

“Eight weeks. We’ll even go as far as saying you’re employable after 4 weeks. Once you understand the basics of safety, quality and the environment, you can get a job on the floor,” Coker explains. 

A reason these are so effective is because they work with several area employers to recruit their students. 

One of those employers is CNH Reman, which is a center that remanufactures components for Case and New Holland farm equipment. 

HR Director Diane Rozier says that they have been involved with building OTC’s curriculum, and they relay some of the things they look for in potential employees.

“For students coming out, attitude and aptitude can go so far. The classroom is very important for the technical skills to gain experience and exposure to the machines and equipment, but really taking the time to engage and apply that knowledge. You have to have both — the technical and the soft skills,” Rozier says.
As far as those technical skills go, job tours give students a chance to talk with the very people that may end up hiring them. 

One of the many success stories of an OTC program is 21-year-old Dalton Hosman.

Hosman who went through the Aspire program, says it gave him everything he needed to get ready for the real world of manufacturing. 

“It was really great actually. We did a lot of hands-on, and instead of being really specific to one type of manufacturing it was a lot. We had a very broad spectrum. so that really helped me out a lot in figuring out what I wanted to do essentially, at the end,” Hosman says. 

CNH Reman was the last place Hosman toured during the course of the program. He graduated on a Friday and started work on the following Monday. He says he had multiple job offers, but he chose CNH Reman.

“This place is phenomenal. Benefits are great, it’s fantastic,” Hosman says. 

With the shrinking workforce becoming a bigger issue every day in the United States, the hope is for stories like Hosmans’ to become the new normal.