The Next Generation of Workforce is On Their Way!
By Elizabeth Dempsey, Marketing Supervisor, MHI Member Company, DMW&H
Within two years, more than 60 percent of the workforce will be Millennials and Nexters. How do we spark interest for this new generation to choose careers in material handling? Simple. Start developing and exposing them to the industry to explore the different career paths that material handling, supply chain, and logistics industry has to offer. My company, DMW&H, started reaching out to young scholars in a few different ways and doing so, we have provided them mentorship, training, and the ability to gain professional experience.
In the last few years, DMW&H has seen a change in the workplace, and we knew we needed to take action to attract the next generation. What have we been doing? For starters, we have taken on a few interns who are treated as full members of our team, involved in decision making processes, and are valued. I spoke to our current interns (and past intern) about their knowledge of what the material handling industry was before starting their internship and it was limited and not alluring. Now they have knowledge of all the fascinating technology, software, and design that go into each job. We work to develop our interns by offering them mentorship, training, and field work in hopes that they consider working for us in the future. In fact, we hired our last intern who has been one of the breakout members of the engineering team!
My company also takes part in the Cristo Rey Network (www.cristoreynetwork.org/). The program integrates four years of rigorous college preparatory academics with four years of professional work experience, delivering an innovative approach to inner-city education with skills, knowledge, and character that transform their lives. Over the past few years, we have hosted intelligent and hardworking high school students, all which have had an interest in engineering, controls, and software. They work and learn from each department in the company, putting them at a huge advantage when they enter college and for their first job.
We partnered together with Stevens Institute of Technology and got involved in their externship program. The externship program is a one-day job shadowing experience filled with discussions and information about an exciting engineering career. The students came armed with questions on the different engineering, controls, and software careers the material handling industry offers. They left with a new perspective of the industry and contacts. DMW&H also created a Summer Development Program for high schoolers. The three-day program purpose was to provide business and career information to help prepare the youth to meet challenges in the workplace and to achieve their full potential. The students were given presentations and activities by each department and at the end of the program, they gave a presentation of what they learned back to the employees. It was amazing how many of the students took interest to the engineering, software, and control fields!
What’s next for DMW&H? We are participating in Student Days at ProMat 2019 in Chicago. Over 250 students will have the chance to attend ProMat and engage in discussion about the supply chain, material handling, and logistics industry. By exposing students to the many different technologies and skill sets in the field, we hope to impact their futures by choosing careers in material handling.
By 2024, the material handling market will be worth more than $190 billion! The growing automation capabilities, advanced technologies, and increased investments into R&D have increased the popularity of the field. Developing and exposing the workforce of the future is the proactive way to getting students excited for a career in the material handling industry.