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AATCC webinar to address rebuilding the talent pipeline

Posted March 18, 2021

 

One of the biggest challenges facing the manufacturing sector, the textile and apparel industry notwithstanding, is the labor shortage. And rather than help close the deficit, the COVID-19 pandemic may have made it even tougher for the industry to attract and retain new talent in the U.S. due to economic impact relief payments and other factors.

 

But beyond the short term, and as the industry continues to rebound from economic cycles and the global crisis, the issue will remain on the front burner.

 

The AATCC is addressing this topic head on next week when it holds a webinar, “Rebuilding the Textile Talent Pipeline: A Conversation on Ways to Recruit and Retain Talent in our Industry.” The event, part of the association’s Digital Labs series, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 24 at 11 a.m. ET.

 

AATCC members are invited to attend at a special reduced rate of $25 USD (from $99), while individual nonmembers can access the event for $169 USD.

 

This presentation will explore current disparities within textile companies and their impact on recruiting and maintaining talent, how to develop a company culture conducive for young leaders and available resources for talent sourcing and management.

 

To help raise awareness and encourage attendance in this important conference, eTC spoke with the moderator, Jasmine Cox of the Textile Technology Center (TTC) at Gaston College, Belmont, N.C., and a couple of panelists. Cox, process coordinator at the TTC, said the event will not follow the traditional Q&A webinar model and will address important issues pertinent to company recruiters.

 

“Although the talent gap is a huge priority, companies oftentimes operate within their own silos, neglecting input from prospective young employees and experts in the workforce development arena,” said Cox, a Millennial and one of the many rising stars in the industry. “I hope that our event will foster an open and honest conversation among industry professionals on workforce development.”

 

Cox added that textile manufactures tend to focus on work hours, salary and benefits as a means to recruit and retain young textile talent, but they are overlooking other considerations.

 

“This session will challenge traditional thinking and explore other factors that contribute to the longevity of young talent at textile organizations,” she said. “This educational session is not a magic wand that will automatically provide a one-size-fits-all solution for the talent gap in our industry. However, with input from current young textile professionals, human resource professionals and workforce training professionals we hope that attendees walk away equipped with new insight on how to improve their organization for the future.”

 

Another Millennial and panelist, Apurba Banerjee, Ph.D., is the principal textiles engineer at Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, Milwaukee, Wis., who leads its textile-related safety initiative with personal protective gear.

 

“Recruiting and retaining young textiles professionals is all about culture,” she Banerjee, also one of the industry’s bright young stars. “It is important for a workplace to give power to young professionals to get their voice heard and feel empowered to make informed, collaborative decisions and to bring new ideas to the table.”

 

Banerjee added that the culture of flexibility and agility promotes higher retention of young professionals who appreciate these traits in a workplace.

 

“Helping young professionals grow their careers will not only lead to higher workplace satisfaction but also will, in the long run, raise companies’ productivity and growth,” she said.

 

Meanwhile, panelist Sara Chester, executive co-director for The Industrial Commons in Morganton, N.C., said that viewers can expect to learn about innovative strategies being used to engage a new generation of workers by empowering them to be creative leaders and problem solvers.

 

She will also offer insights into the Industrial Commons, a nonprofit that incubates innovative social enterprises and delivers a suite of workforce development programming, including an industrial sewing program, financial literacy training and open book management, culture change strategies and supervisor training.

 

“Our work is guided by our values of the three Ps – people, profit, planet – and made possible by leveraging the immense assets of the textile industry in our region, as well as the traditional institutions we partner with in our community to create transformation and places where young people want to stay and can thrive,” Chester said.

 

Rounding out the panel will be Monica Jackson-Buxton, Ph.D., corporate human resources manager at Parkdale, Inc.  Dr. Jackson-Buxton has a 20-year background in talent management, communications, leadership and learning and development.

 

For more information and to register for the event, please click here.

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