Guest Post: Manufacturing Hiring Managers Want Hard and Soft Skills

Allie Stoner

Allie Stoner, Supervisor of Employment Services, has been with Catholic Charities Diocese of Chicago for a year and a half. She became interested in working with refugees after traveling to multiple countries and working cross culturally in social services.

I recently attended the 2014 Youth Development Symposium presented by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP). Manufacturing for the 21st Century, a seminar led by Tim Spires, President and CEO of the Tennessee Association of Manufacturers outlined the specific qualities Hiring Managers look for in the manufacturing field.

Here is my summary of Spires’ remarks focusing on what’s important for job developers to know when reaching out to manufacturing employers.

Studies have shown that continued growth in the manufacturing industry creates more jobs for individuals seeking employment. There are manufacturing jobs available across the country for qualified applicants.

The manufacturing field offers stable hours, opportunities for advancement, and the chance to develop transferable skills.

Hiring managers look for a variety of skills when interviewing candidates. Both hard and soft skills are crucial for this type of work.

Manufacturing work is fast paced and difficult. In order to succeed in this atmosphere, refugee clients need to exhibit a sharp, hardworking attitude and approach to tasks. Attendance and timeliness is key, as well as a teachable and trainable response to constructive criticism. Employees should be self-motivated and able to interact respectfully with coworkers.

Refugee clients will succeed in the manufacturing field if they possess the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize tasks. Verbal communication skills are crucial; this type of work is better suited for clients who speak high levels of English. The qualified candidate will be able to make decisions and solve problems as part of a larger team. Data analysis skills and any relevant technical knowledge will also increase applicant competitiveness.

Note: Thanks to Allie for attending this great event and sharing some of what she learned. Thanks also to NAWDP for offering this opportunity to the refugee employment network. Higher and NAWDP recently discovered how much we have in common and are building ways we can collaborate more closely. Look for more in the coming month and check out NAWDP’s website.


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