LancasterThrivingSummerFall2017 - 14

BUSINESS: BUSINESS PRIORITIES

the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that as many as one
out of 10 workers will retire either this year or the next.
Employers are responding by recruiting aggressively
and raising wages for younger workers. Overall, two-year
technical degree earners are beginning to outpace annual
earnings of many four-year graduates, according to Kevin
Fleming, a national advocate of career and technical
education.
"The STEM jobs currently needed nationally require handson technical skills, contextualized general education
understanding, and industry credentials," explains
Fleming, dean of instruction for career and technical
education programs at Norco College, California. "We are
producing many college graduates, but too few possess
the employability, technical, and professional skills STEM
employers are seeking."
Flex-Cell, so far, has been able to avoid the consequences of
the skills gap. They have never turned down a job because
of fears about scaling their workforce, as have some
companies. The average age of their workers is in the upper
20s. The company's experience may be a model for other
manufacturers.
SLOW AND STEADY
Recruiting and retaining young talent is not necessarily a
strategic goal of the company, but it has succeeded where
others struggle. Originally manufacturing microwave
housings for military clients, Flex-Cell now does a lot of work
in hybrid electronics and, recently, medical devices.
"We've evolved in the industries we've served," Fanning
says. "We don't want to grow too fast where we don't know
how to handle it, and we don't want to stay stagnant, either."

14 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Summer/Fall2017


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