Chicago AMBA Learns about Recruiting and Keeping Millennials

Originally titled 'Chicago AMBA Learns about Recruiting and Retaining Millennials'

The Chicago Chapter of the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) recently held its first dinner meeting of the 2015-16 season and the focus stood firmly on how to fill the skills gap and foster young talent in the moldmaking industry.

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The Chicago Chapter of the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) recently held its first dinner meeting of the 2015-16 season and the focus stood firmly on how to fill the skills gap and foster young talent in the moldmaking industry.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Ms. Antigone Sharris, who is the coordinator of Engineering Technology/Mechatronics at Triton College in River Grove, Illinois. I first met Antigone while working the AMBA Chicago Education Committee’s booth at IMTS, in the Student Summit Hall, in 2014. To say she is an energetic and passionate woman with an eye on exposing students of all ages to the wonders of manufacturing is an understatement.

Antigone’s presentation was titled “Hiring and Retaining Millennial Talent”, and she discussed what defines Millennials (also called Gen “Y”, with birth years ranging anywhere from 1980 to 2004) and what drives them. So what defines a Millennial? Well, to begin with, they are the generation whose oldest members were born at the arrival of the personal computer age (The IBM 5150 was introduced in 1981). Need I say more?

This group includes 83M working aged people that are characterized as looking not only for career advancement but also for personal development through their jobs. Most would like to work abroad, and most would like to give back and look for opportunities to be civically engaged. They also prefer feedback in real time, and they are not motivated as much by money. They’ll most likely take a pass on grunt work; their jobs are “everything” and they are “obsessed” with entrepreneurship.

What drives Millennials is also what will attract them as workers, according to Antigone’s presentation. The traditional ways of recruiting are not exciting enough for this group. Job ads and websites should be updated and dynamic. Job benefits should include tuition reimbursement and paid time off for volunteering.

Retaining Millennials calls for flexible working hours and a casual dress code, participation in seminars paid for by the company, charitable giving and matching and more. Fortunately, many manufacturing companies are already embracing many of these strategies and policies.

If your company is looking to recruit from this talent pool, take note, and perhaps contact Antigone Sharris at (773) 580-8807 or via email at antigonesharris@triton.edu for additional insights and data, especially if you are located in the Chicago Metropolitan area.

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