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Educators, Employers Working to Improve Workforce Training

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Debbie Hopkins, Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board workforce officer Debbie Hopkins, Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board workforce officer
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WVIR) -

Educators and employers in the Shenandoah Valley are working together to improve workforce training for the manufacturing jobs of the future.

A new study for the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board (SVWFB) finds manufacturing employment increased 2.3 percent in 2016. That’s faster than the valley's total employment growth.

77 percent of businesses say the biggest concern they have is that job applicants lack basic work skills.

“The jobs today have received a lot of technological innovation, and because of that there aren't as many of those jobs any more but the ones that are there are more technology-driven,” said Debbie Hopkins, SVWDB workforce officer. “It does need a makeover. Manufacturing needs that cool factor again.”

The study identifies packaging and filling machine operator jobs as the biggest shortfalls in manufacturing in the Valley over the next five years.

The board will develop a detailed plan to train people for in-demand jobs during a workforce summit next month.