We were so interested in this news from NY State and Tesla, announcing a new partnership with a Long Island college to train a future workforce. This is just one more example of employers taking new initiative in working with educational and governmental partners to tackle the skills gap proactively.
As importantly, this partnership with Tesla uses elements of a proven training model – apprenticeship – to be part of the solution. Students work while they learn through internships, and work toward the “high probability” of a full-time job upon graduation. Although this is not an apprenticeship program in the traditional sense, the solution “borrows” key elements from that oldest of all training models to make it work for Tesla and students as well.
Of particular note for us, is the potential for new legislation pending in the State legislature which would advance this form of partnership if passed. One legislator is quoted as “half-joking” that Tesla might want to consider moving their operations from California to New York, in part, due to the willingness of state leaders and educators to partner positively to solve their workforce needs.
We think this joking legislator is on to something. The skills gap is not likely to be solved by government alone. However, no singular employer – even one as high-flying as Tesla – can hope to solve the skills gap alone. The “gap” you see, is not just a “skills” problem – it is a supply chain problem requiring multiple stakeholders to work in alignment to be addressed effectively. Parents, guidance counselors, students, employers, educators, workforce and economic development professionals – working with policy makers – are going to have to do this together.
Tesla “gets it” and through this new partnership, is providing just a hint of the type of solution we need to develop and make work to solve the skills gap. It isn’t easy, and the article doesn’t address a key piece of this puzzle yet to be solved – how can a multi-state, global employer replicate solutions across regions and states without having to start from scratch in every location? (A curriculum clearing house and a framework for licensing curriculum solutions, we think, will be needed.) Still, Tesla and New York leaders are on the right path here.
Partnerships like these are not easy to form. They take time, a vision, and transformational leadership to make happen. But Tesla and New York leaders show us that it is possible. Good for them!
If you're a leader interested in being part of the solution, you can do this. We can help. Let’s get started.
Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is U.S. Department of Labor’s national technical assistance provider supporting the Employment and Training Administration’s implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a number of other priority initiatives of the administration that advance and promote the public workforce system. Maher is also currently involved in a number of sector strategy, regional planning, organizational strategic planning and training initiatives in multiple state and regional areas. For more information about our services, visit our website or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.