As a part of Fluid Power World‘s exploration into education, Industrial Careers Pathway (ICP) Program Director Mary Jawgiel answered a few questions about their part in educational outreach. Read the Q&A with Jawgiel below.
Fluid Power World (FPW): What organizations makeup ICP?
Mary Jawgiel (MJ): ICP is a program comprised of seven industrial-trade associations: American Supply Association (ASA), Industrial Supply Education Foundation (ISA), National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), the Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution (NAHAD), the Belting Association (NIBA) and PTDA Foundation.
FPW: What is ICP’s main goal/mission/focus?
MJ: ICP’s mission is to meet the need for a skilled industrial distribution workforce for today and tomorrow. The program raises awareness of industrial distribution as a career field and works to get young people into the industry at all levels. More specifically, ICP aims to interest new talent and support the education of a skilled industrial-distribution workforce in all positions including production, accounting, sales, management and customer service to secure the future of the workforce. The program alerts potential candidates to options they have for employment down the road—because let’s face it, industrial distribution isn’t a top-of-mind industry for most folks, especially young students, headed to college or the trades.
FPW: What are you doing to achieve this?
MJ: ICP’s website makes it easy for individuals to find information on the career opportunities available, gives an explanation of how much money they can make in the field, what types of skills they will need to get hired and be successful on the job, what a day on the job might be like and much more. There are also links to the ICP online job board where employers are posting help wanted ads and there is a searchable listing of companies that fall into the category of industrial distribution that can be used to find a location in their own community. Any employer can post an ad to the ICP Job Board and have access to the resume database, which houses resumes of all types. Alliance Partner members get a discount on their postings and any person can post their resume to the Job Board at no charge.
The website also has a section for people we consider “influencers” (teachers, school counselors, coaches, mentors) for this audience of young people. We not only need to educate and raise awareness for young people that careers exist in the field, but we also need to make sure their teachers, counselors and parents can learn about the field and advise their students, children and job seekers.
In fact, an ICP-commissioned study late last year of 533 respondents aged 16 to 24 found that only 15% had heard of industrial distribution. But after reading a short description of industrial distribution, 61% said the field was very or somewhat appealing to them—self-citing as key benefits the ability to work hands on in a national industry and in a field offering advancement.
According to ICP, Millennials from Generation Y — particularly those who have an aptitude for science, math and machinery — will replace Baby Boomers in distribution jobs. So, ICP recently exhibited at two U.S. national events to reach Millennials, including SkillsUSA in Louisville, Ky.
We make contact with the counselors, administrators and instructors at these national events and follow-up locally to connect them with industrial distributors in their area who might attend career fairs, give a classroom presentation, or offer a company tour for their students. This way a student can learn all about the industry from someone who is in the industry.
FPW: I read online that ICP associations “drive the programs that build awareness…” what programs is this referring to? Can you list specifics?
MJ: ICP works to connect young people to jobs in industrial distribution. We are a small staff of just a few people but we recruit a large cadre of volunteers from the industry to help us from among the ranks of association members. We call this our ICP Ambassador Corps. The volunteer ICP Ambassadors are the ones who make the presentations, attend local career fairs in their area and open up their places of business for tours to help educate people in their own communities about careers in the field.
FPW: I see there’s an online course (Elements of Industrial Distribution). Can you tell me more about it?
MJ: Another tool that ICP offers to community and technical colleges is the Elements of Industrial Distribution course. This is a pre-packaged class to help students understand the distribution business model. It can be taken by anyone. It is a four module online course ($150 for members of Alliance Partners, $200 for others). The Elements course is also available discounted to companies in ICP partner associations. It gives those who complete it an edge in service and sales positions. It also lets community-college organizers make vocational programs more practical with a three-credit course that give students some much-needed context—and get graduates into a field to increase by 45,000 employees this year and next.
Industrial Careers Pathway
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Also check out Fluid Power World‘s October feature on education: Students today, engineers tomorrow: Our future lies in their education
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