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Building A Modern Workforce: Skills Development in Manufacturing

September 01, 2017 by Midlothian Economic Development

MED-Skills-Development-in-Manufacturing.jpgThere are a variety of reasons why North Texas is a preferred destination for relocating and expanding companies across a variety of industries.

As the fourth-largest U.S. metro, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro offers a central location, an extensive road, rail and air network, lucrative market proximity, and access to the nation’s second-largest civilian workforce.

An exciting component on the vibrant DFW landscape, the rapidly growing community of Midlothian is committed not only to business retention and development, but also workforce preparation.

During this time when planning for jobs that don’t even exist yet is challenging but essential, preparing students from a young age to be critical thinkers and life-long learners is more crucial than ever.

Educational Excellence

Growing by leaps and bounds, Midlothian is located just 26 miles south of Dallas and is home to nearly 37,000 residents. The community has grown dramatically since 2000 when the population was a modest 17,316. And with nearly 15,000 future and preliminary planned single-family lots and an influx of commercial activity, the upscale community’s forward progress shows no signs of letting up.

With steady rising enrollment projected on the horizon, Midlothian city and school district officials continue to reaffirm their commitment to educational excellence.

Encompassing 112 square miles, two high schools, two middle schools, seven elementary schools, and more than 8,400 students and 950 employees, Midlothian ISD is a significant driver behind the community’s rapid growth. Families are drawn by the quality education, luxury housing options, available land and more.

To keep pace with the expanding population, MISD has plans on the drawing board for future campuses.

Additionally, the district just unveiled its 1:1 M*Powered initiative through which technology devices are provided to every MISD student – kindergarten through 12th grade.

Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, students in kindergarten through fifth grade are being issued individual iPads and students in middle and high school are receiving MacBook Air devices. 

MISD is focused on providing education utilizing “the Five Cs” – content knowledge, communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity – to its students via a variety of learning platforms.

This approach to education is designed to set students on a path toward future success academically, personally and professionally.

Current industry surveys reveal that while traditional technical skills like machine operations, computer programming and math are valued, soft skills are in even stronger demand.

In a recent Forbes article, nearly all of 100 top HR managers, recruiters and CEOs surveyed for the story reported that soft skills such as adaptability, focus and communication were more important than hard skills for entry-level job seekers.

This thinking is rooted in the fact that students’ and future employees’ ability to be flexible and coachable will ultimately translate into the competence to effectively navigate jobs of the future.  

Higher Learning

Beginning in high school, Midlothian delivers solid opportunities for advanced education.

Students are offered comprehensive career and college planning through career and technology endorsements as well as through pre-AP, AP and dual credit courses in Midlothian high schools.

Additionally, select 9th grade students may graduate high school with an associate’s degree through the newly created Midlothian Collegiate Scholars Academy (MCSA) in collaboration with the local Navarro College campus.

Established in 2012, the Midlothian Higher Education Center (MHEC) offers additional avenues to bachelor’s and master’s degrees through partnerships between Navarro College, Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMU-C) and Tarleton State University.

The MHEC forms the ninth Multi-Institution Teaching Center (MITC) in Texas and grants resources for students of all ages to earn college and university degrees as well as capitalize on continuing education offerings.

Developing Qualified Talent

While a comprehensive educational experience cements the foundation for learning, Midlothian businesses can further tap into technical skills training with assistance from the Texas Workforce Commission and Skills Development Fund training grants.

Midlothian’s Brazil-based steel plant, Gerdau, has been addressing its workforce training needs through an apprenticeship program and customized job training secured through a 2016 Skills Development Fund grant and Texas State Technical College (TSTC) in nearby Red Oak.

Training has encompassed focused instruction on hydraulics, lubrication principles, electrical troubleshooting and motor controls, mechanical crane inspections and bearings. Gerdau trainees include master and maintenance mechanics, and mechanical, electrical and engineering technicians.

Gerdau’s story exemplifies the tailor-made training opportunities accessible to Midlothian employers through collaboration with local community and technical colleges, workforce development boards and economic development partners.

Through innovative education, strategic planning and systematic progress, Midlothian is addressing the workforce training needs of today and tomorrow. The city is focused on providing area students, residents and businesses with the tools, skills and agility necessary for a changing world.

Come discover the Midlothian difference. We think you’ll want to make something great with us.

Did You Know?

TEXAS

  • has 27.8 million residents (2016)
  • has 54 Fortune 500 companies (2016)
  • is a right-to-work state
  • has a low unionization rate of 4.0% (2016)
  • has a mean hourly wage of $22.96 (July 2017)
  • has a median hourly wage of $17.06 (July 2017)
  • has no personal income tax
  • has the nation’s second-largest civilian labor force
  • has no corporate income tax
  • small businesses employed 4.6 million people (45.9% of private workforce) in 2014 (2017)

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