Honda has announced plans to roll out an innovative $1 million workforce development initiative to create interest in manufacturing careers and provide educational and training opportunities to prepare the next generation workforce for high-tech positions in the manufacturing industry. The initiative will be based in Ohio, US.
The new program, called EPIC, is designed to proactively address the skills gap in US manufacturing and includes programs for middle school to community college students as well as initiatives for current manufacturing associates at Honda.
This EPIC program draws its name from the four key areas of the initiative:
According to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, over the next decade, there will be a need for more than 3.4 million manufacturing jobs. And based on continued job creation and an aging workforce, two million of those jobs – nearly 60 percent – will go unfilled because prospective employees lack interest or essential skills.
“This initiative is geared toward creating interest in manufacturing as a career at the middle school, high school and college levels and then providing continued opportunities in the workplace,” said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America. “We realize manufacturing has always been key to America's economic strength and we want to implement programs that create opportunities not only for ourselves, but for every company with an interest in U.S. manufacturing.”
As one effort to create enthusiasm among younger students, Honda worked with Edheads, a Hilliard, Ohio educational game developer, to create a first-of-its kind manufacturing video game designed for classroom use. The game teaches logic, critical thinking and takes the user right to the engine manufacturing line where they apply math and problem solving skills to find answers to real world problems.
Other program elements aimed at creating Enthusiasm for manufacturing include:
To encourage Passion for manufacturing among high school students, Honda has partnered with two entities to create opportunities including new curriculum, equipment and opportunities to visit Honda facilities.
Honda is also partnering with area two-year colleges to provide incoming high school students with opportunities and Innovative programs.
Additionally, Honda's Commitment to providing on-going technical training for its associates is on display with two new technical development centers. These centers provide the opportunity for associates to train on the latest manufacturing technologies and build on the skills and knowledge they have gained throughout their careers. These centers, one for powertrain at the Anna Engine Plant and another for vehicle production near the Marysville Auto Plant, are designed to help operational and equipment maintenance associates gain the expertise necessary for the high-tech machinery utilized in manufacturing settings. Further, a training curriculum includes basic fundamentals as well as advanced training for specialized areas. These training initiatives are part of Honda's commitment to its associates to keep them up-to-date on the latest production technology in the industry.
"The investment we are making in this EPIC initiative is the culmination of many creative partnerships we have forged with educators, businesses and Honda associates to help design this program," said Schostek. "This robust and innovative initiative is designed to be used by Honda and supplier operations in other regions of the country."