CI Newsletter | May 5, 2023

Posted By: Taylor Dowd (deleted) Newsletters, CI News,

Manufacturing Champions Awards Breakfast May 18th Will Include Workforce Developers Expo 

As part of the Council of Industry’s ongoing mission to develop a regional strategy to build a skilled manufacturing workforce the second annuals HV MFG Workforce Expo will take place in conjunction with our Manufacturing Champions Breakfast May 18th beginning at 7:30 at the Villa Venenzia in Middletown.  The Expo is a private event open to educators, nonprofits, economic development and county partners actively training the current manufacturing workforce and developing the skilled pipeline necessary for manufacturers' future success. 


There is no charge to be part of the Expo but we do ask that participants purchase two Awards Breakfast tickets.  


“We are fortunate to have so many schools, agencies and organizations that are doing tremendous work to strengthen the manufacturing workforce in the Hudson Valley as partners.  This expo is a chance to highlight some of that work and share those programs so they can be better appreciated and taken advantage of,” said Johnnieanne Hansen, Council of Industry’s Vice President of Operations and Workforce Development. “Since the Champions Awards are a celebration of manufacturing in the Region the Workforce Developers Expo is a perfect compliment to that celebration.”  


Organizations invited to participate are: 


  • K-12 Schools and Teachers 

  • Community Colleges 

  • Four Year Colleges 

  • Trade Schools 

  • BOCES & CTE  

  • Online Training Providers 

  • Community Associations  

  • Not for Profit Organizations  

  • Economic Development  

  • Employment and Training Offices 

  • Workforce Investment Boards 


alliantgroup Briefs Council Members on Tax Credit Opportunities.  

Former NY Congressman Rick Lazio, a longtime advocate for small manufacturers, delivered this update on the latest legislative and regulatory updates on available credits for small busiensees with an emphasis on manufacturers. Mr. Lazio, now with the alliantgroup, focused un the unfolding debt ceiling negotiatins, the disappointing changes to the R&D tax credits and the potential opportunities with eh Employee Retention credit (ERC).  Many firms have yet to maximize their use of these credits.  

An associate member of the Council of Industry, the alliantgroup, has a team of former policymakers and IRS commissioners on staff, giving special insights when it comes to understanding and optimizing tax credits.  


Welcome New Apprentices!  

Brian K. – Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) - Elna Magnetics 


Congratulations Apprentice Grduates!  

Christian D. – Electro-Mechanical Technician (EMT) - Sono-Tek 




AI is Changing HR Departments – Let Us Count the Ways 

The majority of HR leaders nowadays use AI across a wide range of tasks, like employee records management, payroll, recruitment, onboarding and performance management. In the future, AI may be able to hire and fire employees, as well as perform more complex tasks like answering HR-related employee queries and communicating salary details. Despite the benefits, some risks are also involved when incorporating AI in HR, such as the limitations of AI tools and how prone they are to cyberattacks. 

Progress in artificial intelligence (AI) technology has remade the human resources (HR) department, enabling HR professionals to leverage machine learning and algorithms to streamline their work processes, reduce their biases, and enhance their analysis and decision-making. However, current limitations and vulnerabilities have given some organizations pause when it comes to adopting AI for additional use cases. This article discusses some of the ways AI is changing HR, considerations when adopting it and how far the trend may go. 


Employment Cost Index Up 1.2% in First Quarter, Following 1.1% Increase in Prior Three Months 

The U.S. employment cost index, the broadest measure of U.S. labor costs, rose 1.2% in the first quarter after gaining 1.1% in the last three months of 2022, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal has expected a 1% gain. Compensation climbed at 4.8% clip in the 12 months ended in March, down from 5.1% in the prior quarter. That was the highest rate since 1990. Economists say that compensation in the 3% range is consistent with the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target. 

Wages and salaries increased 1.2% last quarter. matching the gain in the prior three month period. The 12-month increase in wages rose 5%, down from 5.1% in the fourth quarter. Benefits rose 1.2% in the first quarter after a 1% gain in the October-December quarter. The 12-month increase in benefits moderated to 4.5% from 4.9% in the fourth quarter. 


When Employees' Personal Values Clash With Work Practice  

From brands to service lines, the names we choose carry meaning and bring value. I was reminded of the power of choosing the right name when our human resources team recently made the strategic decision to drop the “HR” moniker and become "people and culture," a choice more businesses are making. The name change was a part of a larger transformation of HR that we made, but it is indicative of where we are headed as a company. Once the change was announced, the questions started: “Does the name really matter?” “Can it have a measurable impact?” “Is it worth the effort?” Yes. Yes. And yes again. 

Every person inside a business interacts with HR in ways that are critical to their satisfaction, safety and success. Despite that reach, HR teams are not always aligned strategically with business goals. That divide can eventually turn into material losses. When HR teams do not understand the work and expectations that shape the employee experience, they lack the insight needed to create programs and processes that effectively support and retain talent. 


10 Questions About Your Organization’s COVID-19 Response 

Now that the emergency phase of COVID-19 has come to an end, organizations should take the opportunity to review “lessons learned” from their response to the pandemic. What procedures worked well? What didn’t work? What should you do differently next time (because there will be a next time)? 

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recommends regular reviews of emergency response plans to support organizational resiliency. Ask these 10 questions about your organization’s response to COVID-19. If there are areas that need improvement, initiate actions, assign ownership and incorporate updates into your organization’s “pandemic preparedness plan” for use in future health emergencies. 


Pay Transparency Laws: What Small Businesses Need to Know 

Eight states have adopted pay transparency laws, including California and New York, with New York’s set to take effect September 1 for employers with four or more employees. It's prudent to take inventory of your internal pay structure before posting any salary information to avoid conflict with current employees. However, this process doesn't have to be complicated, says Jim Emanuel, a human resources knowledge advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management. 

While pay transparency can help businesses move toward pay equity, it also raises concerns for some small businesses — which often pay less than larger corporations — that they won't be able to attract good employees. Jen L'Estrange, founder and managing director of Red Clover, a human resources management consulting firm, noted that job candidates are often more responsive to how companies talk about money than the money itself. And when it comes to employee retention at smaller companies, it's more often a result of recognition and the ability to learn and grow, she said. Similarly, Emanuel recommends leveraging intangibles, such as engagement and connection, that often get lost at large corporations. 


Age, Experience Matter in Cost of Workplace Injuries 

After examining more than 1.2 million worker compensation claims from 2016 to 2020, a new study from The Travelers Companies, Inc. shows that an employee’s time spent in a particular role and their age were driving factors in injury frequency and cost of claims, respectively. Employees in their first year on a job, regardless of their age or industry experience, represented more than one-third (34%) of all claims and accounted for nearly 7 million missed workdays due to injury. Though they were injured less often than most other age groups, employees ages 60 and older had higher average costs per claim, totaling nearly 15% more than employees between the ages of 35 and 49 and approximately 140% more than those ages 18 to 24. 

“The data clearly highlights two populations to watch when it comes to workplace injuries: new and aging employees,” said Rich Ives, vice president of Business Insurance Claim, Travelers, in a statement. “As employers navigate turnover and a multigenerational workforce, it’s important that they stay aware of the risks that come with changing worker demographics so they can help keep employees safe and businesses running.” 


Creating a Welcoming Workplace for Non-Native Speakers – 9 Tips 

Manufacturers face challenges finding, attracting, and retaining good workers who are non-native English speakers and from different cultural backgrounds. The primary reason is a lack of ability to communicate effectively in both directions. The communication barrier appears to be very large, when in actuality it is a small accommodation in exchange for access to the workforce. What is often perceived as quiet disinterest by non-English-speaking team members is a defense mechanism to avoid drawing attention to what the person considers a weakness. Many really good workers originate from places where diversity is punished, and certain groups of people are openly diminished. 

When a company makes a sincere and deliberate effort to communicate and welcome team members who do not speak English, the relief felt by those affected is enormous. Communicating in other languages is a small investment with an immediate and big return. That investment is pales in comparison to the benefit a trusted team offers. 


After High School Years Interrupted by COVID, Students Calculate the Cost of College Differently 

For this year’s high school seniors, the COVID-19 pandemic started in the spring of their ninth-grade year. That means it was the meat in the sandwich of their high school education, and it’s affected their thinking about college and whether it’s worth the return on investment. With a hot job market, more are deciding not to pursue higher education. This spring, there were 14.2 million undergraduates in the U.S., which is about 9% fewer than were enrolled in spring 2019, according to research out this week from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. 

For some individual schools, that change is tangible. At Niagara Falls High School in western New York, the senior class is usually between 400 to 500 kids. In 2019, nearly three-quarters of them planned to go to college. Last year, that dropped to around half. “They want to be on their own. They want to pay their own bills,” said Marc Daul, who counsels students as a postsecondary success coordinator at the school.  


Talent Shortages are the New Normal, so What Can You Do About it? 

A new report indicates that companies in the past year have increased compensation, added employee recognition programs, and invested in learning and development allowances in order to attract top talent. The third annual Global Trends Report from HireVue reveals these and other findings based on a survey of more than 4,000 “talent leaders” in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia across such industries as software, finance, and retail regarding how they’ve adjusted their hiring strategies. 

According to the 20-page report, employers faced with ongoing staffing shortages also are exploring alternatives to traditional hiring approaches — eschewing an over-reliance on resumes and adopting a skills-first approach to talent acquisition that forgoes education requirements and past work experience. To efficiently validate candidate skills, organizations are prioritizing hiring technology that can analyze a candidate’s profile beyond traditional criteria. Of the survey respondents, 58% leveraged standardized assessments, 32% implemented game-based assessments, and 40% added chatbots or text recruiting to their processes. 


iCIMS March Labor Market Insights and Council of Industry Job Board Data 

Despite recent news headlines, hiring activity remained fairly strong in April, with openings and hirings at the same level as they were at the start of last year, when the hiring floodgates were wide open. The same cannot be said for the state of hiring for HR roles, which has plummeted since April of last year. Those roles are disproportionately affected by the spate of layoffs in the last six months, with hiring down 57% since last January. When hiring freezes begin to lift, who will be there to fill all those new roles?  

This month they look at some of the findings in the eighth annual “Class Of” report, which digs into what employers need to know about how new grads are approaching today’s job market. One item in the report worth noting is that recent grads are applying for entry level positions at a much higher rate then pervious classes – covering their bases so to speak,