Companies Must Understand: Labor is About More Than Just Jobs
Every day, Americans are encountering new technologies that would have been unthinkable a generation ago. From smartphones to the notion of recreational space travel, it can sometimes feel like we’re running on a technology treadmill.
The challenge, of course, is keeping up.
In the world of manufacturing, incredible advances fueled by technological innovations have remade industry in large and small ways, leaving a “middle-skills gap” — in essence, technology has outpaced our workforce. Yet this gap is also an opening for companies to help 21st-century workers keep pace with the treadmill. This issue will certainly be front and center during this presidential campaign cycle, and National Apprenticeship Week — starting Nov. 2 —provides a sound moment for businesses to ask: Are we helping our employees keep pace — for us and for them?
At Nestlé, the technology and skills needed vary from plant to plant, from product to product. The processes and production lines are altogether different, depending on whether we’re making baby food or ice cream, pet food or coffee. The more diverse a business’s portfolio, the more diverse its workforce needs to be.
That’s why Nestlé and companies like ours are creating new paths of opportunities for workers around the globe. In the United States, that means ramping up the number of apprenticeships, creating rich internships and conducting instructive traditional and virtual job fairs to help workers of all ages thrive. Our U.S. initiative, “Project Opportunity,” stems from our broader efforts — from Mexico to Europe — to tackle the global unemployment crisis.