With millions of people unemployed due to COVID-19 and a new generation emerging, what is the vision for the next 10 years and who will provide the skills training for future builders?
This new year, 2021, will pose a great challenge to millions of Black and Brown youths and adults who are seeking job skills and employment while many companies are having difficulties retaining skilled workers or providing training for current employees during this pandemic. The manufacturing industry, well before COVID-19, in the United States was experiencing, what has
been called, a “skills gap” dilemma, meaning the industry lacked qualified applicants or talent,
capable of properly, and safely, performing the required tasks for the job. This global pandemic
now affecting every economy has forced all industries to rethink the way in which they conduct
business and training.
Knowing that the global impact of a failing economy will disproportionately affect Black and
Brown people, there are several urgent questions facing us: what is the vision for our next 10
years, who will provide the skills training for future builders, and when can we start? Our children
and grandchildren can not, and should not, have to wait until they mature to address this concern
themselves. Our elders who endured horrific circumstances and overwhelming challenges has
now passed the torch to us and we must do right by them and provide knowledge the future can
use to sustain their families and communities. We must build.
Our training should lead to more than well-paying jobs. We must train with the intentions of
creating entrepreneurs and businesses that incorporate the new technology to produce products and services that benefit a new generation on the way. This pandemic, as tragic and painful as it
is, is allowing us to look at ourselves and our future. We don’t know how long it will last but if
we seek training now, whether online or through self-study, we may be better prepared to
embrace the next challenges after it's all over.
Here are 5 steps for new skills training in this pandemic.
Identify Your Current Skill Sets
The first thing we must do is figure out what we are good at and what we need improvement
on. We must study ourselves and determine where it is that we want to go, or what field would we like to enter. To start, on a blank sheet of paper write down the ten skills you currently have and the ten skills you want. For example, if you have knowledge of Microsoft Excel or Office,
write it down. If you want to learn Autodesk CAD, or Inventor, write that down also. If you know how to drive a forklift write that down, or if you need more training with forklifts write that down. Now organize them by the time in which it will take to complete by short term and long term. Lastly, number your list 1 through 10 with (1) one being easily obtainable in one month, or less, and 10 (ten) being obtainable within five years. This will give you an outline of where you need to start.
Prepare/Update Your Resume
Your resume is a summary in words of who you are, what your abilities are, as well as your
experiences, degrees, certifications, and affiliations. It’s important that this document is updated to reflect your current position and skillsets. The first thing we want to make sure that’s correct is your name, current address, contact number, email address, and website (if necessary). Your email address should be professional i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org. List your most current job first. If you’re just starting out with no employment to list, emphasize your education and any volunteer work. If you don’t have either of these, create a skeleton resume and add to it as you grow or wait to complete the resume until after securing a couple of certifications which is possible to complete within a couple of weeks.
Online Job Boards and Social Media
After you have a completed electronic copy of your resume save one to your computer, save one on a flash drive, and upload a copy to the job posting website of your choice. Some of the more popular sites are monster.com, glassdoor.com, linkedin.com, indeed.com, careerbuilder.com, and ziprecruiter.com. Please save your password in a place that is easily accessible, passwords are sometimes easy to forget. I don’t recommend attaching any of your social media pages to your job search. It is best to keep your personal life separate from your work life, we never know who is watching our activities online.
If you are chosen for an interview after submitting your job application and resume the next thing we should be conscious of is our appearance. Whether your interview is conducted in person or online appearance and language play a vital role in selecting an applicant. The same goes for business meetings whether they are in-person or via Zoom. I suggest you prepare for both meetings as though it will be in person. Be on time, if the meeting is online be sure to have the proper links and password. If in-person, arrive 15 minutes ahead of time and consider traffic delays as well as parking. No loud color clothing. No sneakers. Do your research on the company, this will allow you to ask reasonable questions if needed. Don’t over-talk the host and be respectful as to not take liberties with their names. If you are asked to provide any documents have more than one copy and have it in an email, as well as a flash drive. Lastly, the closing of the meeting should be as respectable as the introduction. Be respectful in your departure.
Don’t overlook training and professional development. We should make it a habit to update our skill sets through whatever form of training available whether it is in-person, online, or self-study. There is always room for improvement in every field of study. New products and services training are always being introduced. Keep track of each professional development course hours
CEU’s or certifications to add to your resume. For example, an OSHA 10-hr General Industry
Training certification can be completed in 2 to 4 days, once completed the certification never expires and can now be added to your resume, however, it is wise to take a refresher course each
year following the initial class.