CI Workforce Newsletter | March 7, 2024

Posted By: Harold King Workforce News,

The Monthly Workforce Newsletter of the Council of Industry

March 7, 2024

2024 Manufacturing Champion Named – Awards Breakfast Scheduled for April 26th
The Council of Industry's Manufacturing Champions Award is presented annually to individuals and/or organizations that “Through vision, dedication and tireless involvement have worked to overcome some of the many obstacles faced by manufacturers in the Hudson Valley and in so doing they have made it possible for manufacturers and their employees to prosper.”  
The Council of Industry Board of Directors is pleased to announce this year’s Champions: 
Barbara Reer - Assistant Dean for Workforce, Career Development, and Apprenticeship Initiatives at SUNY Ulster. Barbara has patiently and persistently built SUNY Ulster’s Advanced manufacturing training programs over the past decade in support of manufacturing businesses across the region, not just Ulster County. The programs she has built have been key to the growth of the MIAP apprentice program.  
Ron Hicks - Dutchess County Assistant County Executive for Strategic Planning and Economic Development. Ron has been a fixture in the world of economic development for more that 2 decades. His recent commitment to see the Mechatronics Lab built at Dutchess Community College’s Fishkill campus is but one example of his vision and commitment to Dutchess County and Hudson Valley manufacturing. 
Frank Falatyn - President, Fala Technologies and STEPs Industry Pre-apprenticeship – Founder / Executive Director. Frank’s commitment to workforce development in the Hudson Valley is unmatched. He helped launch the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy P-TECH School. His support of apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships programs was instrumental to the success of the MIAP program and has helped countless individuals find meaningful careers in manufacturing at his firm, Fala Technologies, and in many others throughout the region. His championing of manufacturing opportunities for neurodiverse individuals has been inspirational and transformative.  
This year’s awards will be presented at the Champion's Breakfast and Workforce Developers Expo April 26th at The Villa in Middletown. 
Award Breakfast Expo Will Highlight Programs Building The Region’s Manufacturing Workforce
The three 2024 Manufacturing Champions (see above) come from different fields, education, government, and the private sector. However, they all have at least one important thing in common – each understands the critical importance workforce development plays to the region’s vitality and has made significant contributions to strengthen our manufacturing workforce development system. 
And they are not alone! We are fortunate in the Hudson Valley to have many programs that support the manufacturing workforce including High Schools, BOCES, Community Colleges, Four Year Colleges and Universities, not-for-profits, government agencies, and more. Many of these programs will be participating at the Council of Industry’s Workforce Developers Expo that will be held in conjunction with Champion’s Award Breakfast on April 26th at the Villa in Middletown. The Expo will take place just prior to the breakfast from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Holding the Workforce Expo in conjunction with the breakfast, which draws in excess of 200 guests, gives all the attendees the opportunity to see the many programs and services that are available to manufacturers, incumbent manufacturing employees, and future manufacturing employees. 
If your organization would like to participate in the Expo you can learn more here.
Quality Assurance Auditor – An Often Overlooked But Very Valuable Apprentice Trade 
When we think about manufacturing trades our minds quickly go to Machinist, Toolmaker, or Mechanic. Seldom do we think about quality assurance but this trade, which is available through the Council of Industry’s’ MIAP apprentice program, has proven to be extremely valuable to companies who use the Quality Assurance Auditor to upskill employees in their quality departments.  
A Quality Assurance Auditor is responsible for ensuring that products, services, or processes meet established quality standards and regulatory requirements. They conduct thorough evaluations, inspections, and audits to identify areas of improvement, implement corrective actions, and maintain compliance with industry-specific guidelines. You may give them a different title, but if you need to train an individual to have the skills listed below you might consider this apprenticeship for them.  
Work Processes (Skills learned on the Job) Approximate Hours for Quality Assurance Auditor (2000 per year): 
  • Workplace Orientation: 300 hours 
  • Workplace Fundamentals: 400 hours 
  • Quality Assurance Fundamentals: 700 hours 
  • Auditing: 2,000 Hours 
  • Maintenance and Record Keeping: 600 Hours 
  • Total Hours: 4,000 
Minimum of 144 Hours of Related Instruction (Classroom Learning) Required for Each Apprentice for Each Year: 
  • Safety & Health 
  • Engineering Drawings 
  • Mathematics 
  • Trade Theory and Science 
  • Computer Fundamentals 
  • Welding (if performed on the job) 
  • Working on High-Voltage Manufacturing Equipment 
  • Interpersonal Communications: oral and written 
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention 
If you want to know more about this trade and if it might be right you’re your company contact Johnnieanne Hansen.  
Wait List Only For Spring Certificate In Manufacturing Leadership Program
The Spring 2024 Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership program is full and we are accepting names for a wait list for individual classes. The program offers attendees a range of leadership skills through a series of concentrated courses. Participants who complete the required courses are presented with the Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership by the Council of Industry.  
All remaining classes will be held at DCC Fishkill from 8:30 – 4:00.  
  • Problem Solving & Decision Making – March 20
  • Environmental Health & Safety Essential – April 3 
  • Effective Business Communication – April 17 
  • Human Resources Management Issues – May 8 
  • Making a Profit in Manufacturing – May 22 
  • Best Practices & Continuous Improvement – June 5 
  • Positive Discipline & Motivation – June 11 
While this Spring Session is full, we have a remote session planned for the Fall (dates TBD). We are also considering, should enough people be interested, a session this Summer.   
To express interest in a Summer session or to save your spot(s) in the Fall Session email Johnnieanne Hansen.
Programs On Independent Contractors And Tapping Into The Neurodiverse Workforce Inform Member HR Professionals 
On February 13th Attorneys from Council of Industry Associate Member Bond Schoeneck & King briefed Council members on the Biden Administration’s changes to the rules governing independent contractors. Jim McGrath, Labor and Employment Attorney with BSK, discussed the new rule and helped participants understand whether the status of their contractors will change and what steps they will need to take to comply with the new regulations which will take effect March 11, 2024. Under the new rule, the ultimate inquiry is one of “economic dependence,” meaning whether a worker qualifies as an independent contractor will depend on whether, as a matter of economic reality, the worker is in business for him or herself. This meeting was in webinar form. 
On March 1, an in-person presentation took place at RBT CPA’s on “Maximizing Untapped Talent.” Kelly Caldwell, from Associate Member RBT CPAs, shared best practices and facilitated an excellent conversation. Participants shared insights, and discovered innovative strategies for unleashing the full potential of your teams and potential workforce. Kelly discussed what neurodiversity is, the challenges faced by neurodiverse individuals, and the meaning behind terms such as ‘masking,’ ‘executive functioning.’ She provided tips on providing clarity, inclusive learning design for trainings, precise communication, and what it means to accept alternative work styles (it doesn’t need to be disruptive.)  
For a copy of the slides for either presentation please contact the Council Office.

Apprenticeship Spotlight

Welcome New Apprentices!  
The following individuals enrolled on the Council of Industry's MIAP Apprentice Program last month.
Ryan B. – Toolmaker, Dorsey Metrology 
Antonio Q. - Maintenance Mechanic, Gap, Inc. 
Coral C. - Maintenance Mechanic, Gap, Inc. 
Sarah Todd - Maintenance Mechanic, Gap, Inc. 
Osmar F. - Maintenance Mechanic, Gap, Inc. 
David C. – Electro-Mechanical Technician, Gap, Inc. 
James W. – Electro-Mechanical Technician, Gap, Inc. 
Marlon A. – Electro-Mechanical Technician, Gap, Inc. 
Marte G. – Electro-Mechanical Technician, Gap, Inc. 
Matthew G. – Electro-Mechanical Technician, Gap, Inc. 
Matthew E. – Electro-Mechanical Technician, Gap, Inc. 
Collin C. – Electro-Mechanical Technician, Gap, Inc. 

Candidate Profiles

Periodically the Council of Industry will share profiles of individuals who have applied for, or expressed an interest in, a job in Hudson Valley manufacturing.
Subscribers of the Collaborative Recruiting Initiative can view candidate resumes and contact information by searching the candidate ID number in iCIMS platform.
Other Council members can contact Johnnieanne Hansen directly for additional candidate details or to learn more about the recruiting initiative.
Position Interest: Office Admin / Production Tech.
Education: Bachelor of Science – Business Administration
Level: Mid-Level 
Summary: This candidate is eyeing mid-level roles in Office Administration or Production Technology, backed by a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Their expertise in Microsoft Office, coordination, database entry, and contract writing, combined with their knack for marketing and meticulous record-keeping, makes them a well-rounded prospect. With hands-on experience in project management and effective vendor communication, they bring valuable skills to the table. If you are looking for an experienced Administrative Assistant, please feel free to reach out.
Position Interest: HR Generalist / Coordinator
Education: Bachelors Degree – Communications / Business, Associates Degree – Marketing
Level: Mid-Level
Summary: This candidate is targeting roles as an HR Generalist or Coordinator at the entry to mid-level. With a bachelor’s degree in communications/business and an Associate's degree in Marketing, they possess a solid educational foundation. Their professional experience spans several roles, showcasing adaptability and versatility. They've served as an HR Administrator/Generalist since August 2022, gaining current insights into HR practices. Prior to this, they held the position of Supervisor - Meat Team/Trainer from June 2019 to August 2022, displaying leadership and organizational skills. The candidate is actively seeking new opportunities and is available for interviews. They are specifically looking for roles in the Newburgh, NY area, indicating a preference for local opportunities or a willingness to commute. Please feel free to reach out.
Position Interest: Marketing
Education: Bachelor of Arts – English
Level: Mid-level 
Summary: This candidate is a marketing professional with roughly 8 years of experience in social media coordinating/writing. Pairing an excellent ability in brand development, content creation, and reporting, creates an extremely well-rounded marketing candidate. They are currently residing in Albany NY but are open to commuting/telework opportunities. If you are searching for an individual to help develop and grow your brand, please feel free to reach out. The candidate ID is in the top left and by searching it on our ICIMS database will bring up their resume.
For information on advertising in this and other CI publications contact Harold King (

News for HR and Workforce Professionals

Employee Happiness Hits 4-Year Low
A report from BambooHR found that the overall average employee satisfaction score, which in part accounts for how likely employees are to recommend the organization as a place to work, in December 2023 dropped to the lowest overall average score since 2019. The report is based on data collected from more than 1,600 companies nationwide, representing more than 57,000 employees. 
The satisfaction drop is driven by factors including inflation and financial woes, inconsistent return-to-office policies, evolving employee expectations, and layoffs, said Anita Grantham, head of HR at BambooHR. The lattermost factor is a likely contributor to the fact that tech workers are among the least satisfied employees. The bulk of recent layoffs have been in the tech industry, with firms including LinkedIn, Google, and eBay announcing layoffs in the first quarter of 2024. Meanwhile, a growing focus on artificial intelligence is also sparking competition and uncertainty, employees told BambooHR.  
Survey: PTO Trends At U.S. Companies Are Changing 
New data about U.S. workers provided by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans shows that paid time off (PTO) trends in U.S. workplaces are changing. The Paid Leave in the Workplace 2024 Survey Report reveals what organizations are offering their employees for vacation, sick leave, parental leave, and bereavement leave. The report also highlights the types of paid leave employees are seeking most adamantly. 
Although federal law does not require employers to offer vacation time to their workers, nearly all (99%) organizations surveyed offer this benefit. For most organizations, the number of paid vacation days increases with service. Only 12% offer a flat number of vacation days regardless of service. While most companies offer paid leave, many employees are simply not taking the time off. Heavy workload (44%) and lack of adequate staffing (23%) are the two most common reasons workers do not use their paid vacation time. That being said, roughly three-quarters of employers (74%) encourage employees to take paid vacation days. 
Employers Should Expect Higher Healthcare Costs In 2024, Outpacing Inflation 
The 45th National Healthcare Trend Survey by Buck, a Gallagher Company, is a longstanding effort to track the trends in health care costs. The report, which surveyed nearly 100 insurers and health plan administrators, found that the overall medical trend reported was averaging 6.8% to 7.3%, up 50 to 100 basis points from the trends reported in the prior survey–although the report noted a wide range of variation.  
"As the price of gas, food, and other goods and services increases due to inflation, medical trend factors used by insurers to set premium rates have clearly been incrementally affected as well," said Kelly Conlin, managing director and chief actuary, U.S. Health Financial & Actuarial Consulting at Gallagher. "But we're also seeing greater use of diagnostic tests and increased spending on research and development. While this investment may ultimately be the key to containing health care cost increases and improving patient outcomes, these advances tend to result in higher upfront development costs." Other factors emerged from the report as well; mergers and consolidations have given provider systems more bargaining power to negotiate higher prices, and drug costs continue to play a big role in increasing health care costs. 
Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Wants To See Schools Measured On Student Job Occupancy Instead Of College Admission Rates 
In the work experience versus college experience debate, the former has won a powerful new advocate: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. The Harvard Business School alumnus said he wanted to see more of a focus in the education system on high school graduates landing jobs instead of being forced into further education. Although Dimon paid his respect to America's "wonderful" universities in an interview released over the weekend, the billionaire Wall Street titan said more emphasis should be placed on how well schools support students who want to go straight into the world of work. 
Dimon has long been an advocate of shaking up the education system to introduce a greater focus on skills, previously lauding Germany's apprenticeship scheme, for example. And while the number of apprenticeship opportunities in America is growing—and is predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to continue to do so—the 600,000 individuals currently on such schemes are a drop in the ocean compared to millions of college undergraduates. 
New Resources Offers Strategies And Actions Steps To Reduce Risk Of Airborne Infectious Diseases 
As more employers are examining their workplace health protocols to minimize the risk of airborne infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections, AIHA announced the launch of a comprehensive new resource that employers and employees can utilize to address current, and future, health threats. AIHA’s “Healthier Workplaces and Schools” eBook is available in English and Spanish to view and download at no charge. 
The eBook is designed to help workplace decision-makers properly assess their specific risks and includes a practical approach to help mitigate the risk of spreading airborne infectious diseases in workplace settings, a risk assessment quiz to determine an organization’s risk of airborne virus transmission among workers, and specific actions to help manage these risks. The eBook was developed by experts with background, training, and experience in industrial hygiene (IH) and occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS), providing practical, evidence-based guidance to protect workers and their communities across all industry sectors – from service sector businesses and healthcare facilities to manufacturing/warehouses and public transit systems.  
Download the eBook in English or Spanish 
High-Tech Tools And An Emphasis On Individual Learning Are Improving The Effectiveness of Safety Training 
Imagine this scene. Walking into that day’s safety meeting everyone is handed an augmented reality headset. Once the device is activated, each person virtually experiences the exact same incident that had occurred earlier at the plant. Each worker is able to run through various options and scenarios that play out how the incident could have been avoided. That is the endgame for Thomas Pitts, Schneider Electric’s director of safety and environment for Services and Solutions Group in North America. “People learn more when training is hands-on,” Pitts says. 
This emphasis on the individual is something that Rick Tobin, CEO of SafetyNow, a provider of safety training courses, is seeing in the market as well. “The onus has moved to the individual, and we are seeing this across the board as part of an overall business transition,” says Tobin. “For a long time, behavior-based training was the preferred method, but now it’s more focused on individual safety and accountability. However, in order for training to be effective, it has to be measured.  
Home Depot Is Ordered To Reinstate Worker Who Quit Over 'BLM' Logo 
The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ruled that Home Depot violated the law by firing an employee, Antonio Morales, after he refused to remove “BLM” messaging from his work apron. In late spring and summer of 2020, the United States was engulfed in Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. In a Home Depot store in New Brighton, Minnesota – a suburb of Minneapolis, where police killed Floyd – several workers hand-wrote “BLM” on the company’s distinctive orange aprons.  
The NLRB ruled that Morales’ refusal to remove the messaging was a “protected concerted activity” to protest the racial injustice that took place at the store from August 2020 to February 2021. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act “protects the rights of employees to wear and distribute items such as buttons, pins, stickers, t-shirts, flyers, or other items displaying a message relating to terms and conditions of employment, unionization, and other protected matters.” The NLRB found that Home Depot broke the law by interfering with employees’ Section 7 rights. The Board’s reasoning flips rulings from lower NLRB judges on BLM messaging on employee uniforms in Home Depot and Whole Foods. 
Newburgh’s San Miguel Academy Junior High Students Take On Robotics Project 
San Miguel Academy students recently completed a robotics project where they built and tested prosthetic hands. BrainCo’s NeuroMaker HAND project is inspired by real-world prosthetic products. The project is designed to develop industry-specific skills and awareness by offering students exciting and immersive experiences in biomedical innovations, mechanical and electrical engineering, programming, and artificial intelligence. Students worked in pairs to assemble over 130 pieces, creating a functional robotic hand. They then tested their hand models and engaged in friendly competitions for the accuracy and strength of their hand’s grip. “NeuroMaker HAND significantly enhances students’ learning experiences, providing an exciting hands-on project for students to see the practical applications of science concepts in solving real-world problems,” said San Miguel Academy science teacher Effiong Eyo.  
San Miguel Academy of Newburgh is an independent Catholic school, working to break the cycle of poverty through education. Since opening as a middle school in 2006, San Miguel Academy has grown into the multi-faceted San Miguel Program known for its focus on STEM and its rowing and crew programs. The school is 100% scholarship-driven. 
Why HR And Marketing Should Work Together On Strategy 
Dwayne Weiser, a former HR Process Consultant, notes: “Marketing and human resources are two departments in organizations with common points of interaction. The success of each organization depends on how these departments work together for a common purpose. Efficient marketing starts with investing in your employee experience. If you develop a team that’s passionate about the firm’s purpose, values, and mission, you can come up with an influential group of marketers and create a more holistic and consistent brand experience.” 
This move toward branding and HR integration is driven primarily by two trends. The first trend can be summarized by what HR veteran Rajeev Bhardwaj describes as the transformation of HR “from an administrative overhead to the fountainhead of innovative solutions to cultivate and nurture talent.” The second trend involves changes in the world of branding where brand professionals are taking a more holistic, experiential approach to branding rather than relying solely on advertising—a move that requires modern marketers to look inwards toward employees to support their branding initiatives as much as they look outwards to engage customers.
10 Cultural Shifts That Will Attract Top Talent
The standard hiring process starts with employers vetting candidates. But candidates are also deciding if they want to invest their professional talent and time into a specific employer. As such, the exchange needs to be two-directional. Ask, “Why would a candidate want to work here?” What can you define and share with candidates to help them understand what their experience will be at your company? This includes tangible things like pay, benefits, and work expectations, as well as intangible things, like the ecosystem of support, recognition, values, culture, purpose, learning opportunities, etc. Collectively, this is your employee value proposition, of which company culture is one component. 
You can make your company one that great employees want to work for by creating a culture that encourages them to speak up, allows for mistakes, and has leaders who value collaboration and ideas and embody stated values, writes Peggy Shell, the founder and CEO of Creative Alignments. "When you show up this way, you attract employees who naturally and authentically live similar values," Shell notes. 
iCIMS February Labor Market Insights – 18-24 Year Olds Top The Applicant Pool 
The labor market did it again. Instead of starting to fizzle out last month, February’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed a strong start to the new year with an unexpected surge in job growth. iCIMS platform data also showed a spike in activity last month. But while candidates are flooding the applicant pool, employers are still testing the waters.  
Some of February’s top findings include: Job openings overall jumped 35% month over month—a 6% increase since January 2023 and the highest level seen in a year. Candidates in the 18—24 age range dominated the applicant pool in January, accounting for over 4 in 10 candidates applying for jobs. Applications for health services jobs also skyrocketed in January, up 23% over last year and the highest number of applications in over four years (50 months). 

HR Briefs

Manufacturing Matters Podcast

In this episode, Garrett shares the intricacies of the investment casting process, shedding light on a variety of manufacturing techniques. He explains how Lammothermic serves a diverse clientele, including firearm components, automotive parts, and components for industries like meat processing and paper processing. As a second-generation leader, Garrett discusses the challenges and opportunities he faced when taking over the family business, emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and adapting to industry changes. He delves into topics such as labor shortages, ISO certification, and the balance between maintaining tradition and embracing innovation. Join us as Garrett shares his vision for the future of Lammothermic, focusing on building a strong team, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.