MARYSVILLE — Honda reaffirmed its commitment to advance the skills of its current and future workforce by signing the White House’s Pledge to America’s Workers on Tuesday at its Technical Development Center, located at the Honda Heritage Center in Marysville. As part of its pledge, Honda committed to offering expanded job training opportunities for 50,000 workers in the next five years.
With the signing of the pledge, Honda reinforced its commitment to expand training programs to ensure that the company’s associates who design, produce, sell and service Honda products have the necessary education and training to succeed in a world of rapidly changing technology. Additionally, Honda will continue to support and advocate for programs that educate future workers about manufacturing as a potential career.
“We applaud the White House’s efforts to equip the workforce of today and tomorrow with the skills needed to succeed and are honored to join the growing family of pledges,” said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America Inc. and a board member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). “Honda’s success has always been dependent on our dedicated and skilled associates. As we embark on our fifth decade of manufacturing products in America, we remain committed to creating new opportunities to help the next generation workforce develop the critical skills needed to compete in the modern age of mobility.”
The rapid pace of advances in so-called CASE vehicle technologies (Connected, Automated, Shared, Electrified) is a key driver in the need for a renewed focus on math and science education in schools and in the training of the existing workforce on advanced automotive and mobility technologies. Honda is proactive in ensuring that its associates receive necessary job training. It operates technical training centers near its manufacturing operations in Ohio, Indiana and Alabama that provide Honda associates the opportunity to stay current with the skills needed for their work requirements.
Attracting tomorrow’s workforce
An additional challenge is attracting the next generation of skilled manufacturing workforce. In a 2018 study, Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute identified an estimated 2.4 million open manufacturing jobs that would remain unfilled, due largely to a skills shortage in the U.S. manufacturing industry. According to the study, this shortage is based on misperceptions of manufacturing jobs held by young people and the retirement of baby boomers. This shortfall represents more than half of the 4.6 million manufacturing jobs that will need to be filled between 2018 and 2028.
To build enthusiasm for the jobs of the future, Honda will be among the title mobility sponsors for Creators Wanted, an initiative developed by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to spur manufacturing employment, expose prospective employees and youth to the many aspects of the manufacturing industry and address misperceptions about careers in the manufacturing industry. More details about the Creators Wanted initiative will be announced in February.
“As an iconic manufacturer in America, Honda is setting a powerful example of how our industry is stepping up to solve one of the defining challenges of our time,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “We are proud to have them as the official mobility sponsor of the Creators Wanted Tour, and their leadership will help us reach a new generation of modern manufacturing workers in their own communities across our country. With their pledge and with this sponsorship, Honda continues to build our future.”
Honda has a history of initiating workforce development activities and increasing interest in manufacturing careers by promoting STEM education and working with local schools, community colleges and four-year universities. Each year, Honda hosts more than 200 university students in engineering and manufacturing support functions. In central Ohio alone – home to several Honda manufacturing and R&D operations – Honda has fostered relationships with local colleges and universities, where Honda offers scholarships and job-training opportunities to students enrolled in engineering and technology programs. This includes Honda’s support of over 20 individual Ohio State University Senior Capstone project teams each year.
One example of the creative approach Honda has taken is a collaboration with Edheads, a Hilliard, Ohio educational game developer, to create a first-of-its kind manufacturing video game. Designed to increase manufacturing career awareness among U.S. middle school students, the initiative has reached over 550,000 games plays since its launch in 2015.