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Making On-the-Job Training Work: Lessons from the Boeing Manufacturing On-the-Job Training Project

Deborah Kobes

The need to build a more robust workforce development pipeline is evident in the hundreds of thousands of job openings in our nation’s advanced manufacturing industry. Rapid technological change has created a severe skills gap, compounded by a pending wave of retirements due to the aging of the workforce. These challenges are particularly problematic for small manufacturers, whose limited resources and tight production schedules make it difficult to recruit and train new workers. 

Investment in industry-driven on-the-job training (OJT) can be an effective workforce development strategy in this economy. Employers participating in on-the-job training benefit from financial incentives when they bring on employees to teach trainees the skills they need to succeed in specific positions at the firms. There is an expectation that these employers will keep successful trainees as permanent workers at the completion of the training.

This brief explores one promising OJT model: the Boeing Manufacturing On-the-Job Training Project, funded by The Boeing Company and managed by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.