May 19, 2015

Can’t find skilled workers? Try this World War II strategy

Rebecca Morgan, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Manufacturers fret about a skills shortage and the loss of powerful knowledge as baby boomers retire. Instead of fretting, I suggest looking back to the beginning of World War II as an easily available and proven response to both concerns.

At the beginning of WWII, millions of American men left jobs in manufacturing to fight the war. Those departures happened as the need for manufacturing to build war materials was skyrocketing.

American industry did a great job of bringing women in from homemaker duties and developing “Rosie the Riveter,” a productive manufacturing worker. How?

The U.S. government created Training Within Industry (TWI), developed to build the productivity of the new workforce as quickly as possible, and it worked extremely well. The components of TWI originally included job relations, job instruction and job methods. Each of these sections of TWI was created for specific purposes, addressing challenges most important to manufacturing productivity and safety.

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