Is technical training running out of STEAM?
Growing a business through a global pandemic with a labor shortage has been a challenge. Despite significant headwinds, we made tremendous strides and positive progress with an amazing group of smart and dedicated employees. But one of the biggest ongoing struggles we and too many other companies like us encounter is finding people who are ready to work at hands-on, technical jobs like the ones on our shop floor.
Many of our newest employees haven’t worked in a machine shop before, and really hadn’t considered a career in CNC machining before now. It seems that some of our recruiting challenges come from a lack of awareness of how a little mechanical aptitude and curiosity can open doors for a great future. People who’ve done well and stayed for a long time at Rathburn consistently demonstrate these interests and capabilities.
I think part of the issue is the talent gap that’s been created by promoting college for everyone at the expense of other forms of education. This seems to go hand-in-hand with the elimination of hands-on technical curriculum in the public schools over the last two decades.
The importance of STEM
I’m encouraged by the growing recognition of this talent gap, and some fantastic efforts to fix it at the K–12 level across our communities. Since our founding in 1983, Rathburn has always offered opportunities for on-the-job training as well as company-reimbursed schooling, not only to improve our team’s capabilities, but to help our employees expand their thinking and grow their skillsets. The areas we focus on are math- and science-based with an emphasis on geometry, materials science, CNC programming, and robotics.
The growing prominence of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education at all levels is encouraging for me as a business owner, engineer, and mom of four.
The distraction of STEAM
However, I’m increasingly puzzled by the recent evolution of STEAM curriculum (with addition of “A” for art) and even more recently STREAM (with addition of “R” for reading). While I’m sure these ideas are well meaning, they seem to be diluting the effort to amplify technical skills by mixing humanities with hard sciences. After all, if everything is important, then nothing will be.
While I don’t have anything against teaching art and reading, I think our collective future is best served by focusing on preparing for opportunities in technical careers so our kids and neighbors can be competitive in an increasingly global and technical job market by encouraging STEM (no A, no R) education.
Rathburn is Hiring!
If you or someone you know is looking for an entry level or skilled CNC machine operator position, Rathburn has positions available now. We offer competitive wages, opportunities for training and advancement, monthly attendance bonuses, tuition reimbursement, medical/dental/vision, vacation and sick pay, paid holidays, and more.
When you join Rathburn, you join a team of dedicated professionals with deep expertise, diverse experience, and a driving passion to succeed together. Resumes are welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org.