One of the most pressing challenges facing the skilled trades is how they can attract younger talent to join their workforce. According to the Manpower Group’s 2014 Talent Shortage Survey, jobs for skilled trade workers are the hardest to fill.1 In fact, skilled trades have been the most difficult to fill since 2010.2 So what can employers do to secure the skilled trade workforce of the future? At GOJO, we see the solution in collaboration.
Strong Collaboration: FUTUREPRO and SkillsUSA
Looking to build lifetime brand loyalty among pre- and early-career users and influencers, GOJO launched the GOJO FUTUREPRO™ program in 2014. To help accomplish this feat, GOJO has engaged and built a partnership with SkillsUSA®, a national organization serving high school and college students preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations.
For technical and skilled workers, their hands are their most important tools, and keeping their hands clean is key to keeping them healthy and on the job. Poor hand hygiene habits can expose skin to a variety of skin risks that could lead to occupational dermatitis. This is why making hand hygiene a part of a worker’s daily routine is so important, and it is a habit they need to build in the beginning of their careers. Yet, how could we reach these future pros? How could we make sure they have all of the right tools at hand at the start of their careers?
GOJO began its partnership with SkillsUSA in 2014 by sponsoring the Community Service Project at its National Conference. Leadership through civic engagement is an integral principle of the association and a shared belief of GOJO. Hence, this proved to be the perfect way for us to begin to build and strengthen this relationship. “The commitment from GOJO demonstrates a true partnership of business and education and support for our students who want to leave our communities and the world a better place," said SkillsUSA Executive Director, Tim Lawrence.
Looking Ahead to the Future
This year, GOJO wanted to further expand this relationship. In addition to exhibiting at SkillsUSA’s National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and once again sponsoring the conference’s Community Service Project, GOJO has also connected through state-level involvement and begun developing hand hygiene curriculum.
This past April, GOJO exhibited at the state conference in Columbus, and Megan DiGiorgio, a GOJO Healthcare Clinical Specialist, served as a judge for the practical nursing competition. By joining forces with our Healthcare Team, we are further demonstrating the important role hand hygiene plays in helping to keep people healthy in a multitude of professions.
In addition, GOJO has been working with Mike Cowles, SkillsUSA Ohio Director of Career-Technical Education, to pilot an accredited hand hygiene curriculum. Created specifically for Ohio SkillsUSA educators, this curriculum is set to be launched in the classroom later this fall. GOJO also plans to build a curriculum resource center on its website that will house curriculum materials and hand hygiene educational materials for both educators and students. Moving into 2016 and beyond, the goal will be to capitalize on our learnings from here in Ohio and replicate this curriculum in other states.
Our collaboration with SkillsUSA has brought with it a great opportunity to build relationships with and educate our future about the importance of hand hygiene. We look forward to continuing to build upon the strong partnership we have established in just two, short years.