Finding the Right Workforce

>>Well good afternoon
everybody. Why don’t we get started. It looks like there’s
some people coming in, but we want to get
started on time here, be respectful of
everyone’s time. Make sure you have your
chances to network. Good afternoon. My name is John Ladd. I’m the administrator for
the Office of Apprenticeship of the US Department of Labor,
and I’ll be your moderator for today’s session,
finding the right workforce. So I’m really excited
about this panel today. We’ve assembled an all-star
panel, and I’m going to introduce them to you
here in just a few minutes. Well let me just
take a couple minutes to frame the issue a little
bit and talk a little bit about what’s happening from the
perspective of the US Department of Labor and particularly
my office, the Office of Apprenticeship. So as many of you know, we have
a tremendous skills gap issue here in the United States. Just life, record
low unemployment. We have over 7 million jobs
across the United States that employers say they’re
having trouble filling. So that is a big
number, a big challenge. So this is something
that is very important to this administration. And we’re looking at workforce
development from a lot of different perspectives. Hopefully, many of you
will be here tomorrow. You’ll hear form senior advisor
Ivanka Trump will also be talking about workforce
development. And so today’s topic
is really timely. From an apprenticeship
perspective, this administration
feels very strongly that apprenticeship can
be one of the answers to these workforce
challenges, right. If we have seven million
jobs we can’t fill, part of the answer has
to be growing our own and developing our
own workforce. And that’s where
apprenticeship fits in. The good news is we’re
having tremendous success. We’re seeing historic levels
of interest in apprenticeship, new employers starting
apprenticeship models all across the country
in record numbers. Last year we had over 230,000
people start an apprenticeship program here in the
United States. We’re nearing half a million
new apprentices since the start of the administration. So these are numbers we
haven’t seen in decades. And we’re seeing this not
just in traditional industries and traditional occupations but new industries
and new occupations. So, we’re really thrilled
to see that progress. But you can see there’s a little
bit of a mismatch there, right. We’re talking about hundreds
of thousands of apprentices but millions of jobs
that are unfilled, right. So we have an order of magnitude
problem, and we really need to scale up successful workforce
development strategies, including apprenticeship. And so on the apprenticeship
front, the administration’s taking
a number of steps to look at how we can scale
apprenticeship across the United States. And this began about
two years ago. We’re coming up on
an anniversary here of an executive order on expanding apprenticeship
in the United States. Really exciting for us in
the apprenticeship world where we have an executive
order stating it’s the policy of the United States to promote
and expand apprenticeship. So we’re excited to see that
commitment to apprenticeship. Under that executive order, a taskforce on apprenticeship
expansion, a presidential task
force was stood up. That committee met
and finished its work about a year ago,
issued a report. I encourage you to go on
our website at You can see that report. Lots of really great
recommendations and a number of which we’re acting on
at the Department of Labor. And then later this year,
we’re going to be rolling out some new policy and some
new guidance and regulations around a new option
around apprenticeship. We’ve had one kind
of traditional model of apprenticeship in the US. We’ll be rolling out what we’re
calling industry recognized apprenticeship, which gives
a little bit more flexibility to industry to design
apprenticeship programs that meet the needs of
their particular industry. So, that should be
coming out shortly. And again, this is a big
innovation and new development in the apprenticeship space. So, we’re really excited
about the opportunities around apprenticeship, but we’ve
got experts here from industry, from economic development
that can talk more broadly about how communities are
coming together, both industry and public sector partnerships to address these
workforce challenges, because they are very,
very severe and pressing in communities all across
the United States and all across a range of industries. So what we’re going to do in
our panel here is I’m going to introduce just very briefly
our distinguished panel. I’ll let you know who they are,
their titles, but I’m going to ask them to speak
a little bit more about who they are,
their organization. And then talk more specifically
about, you know, the challenges that they see around
the skills challenge and finding the right workforce. Some of the solutions
that they developed and the opportunities
they see for replication. So we’re going to give
about five minutes to each of our speakers to cover that. We do hope at the end
that we’ll have plenty of time for questions. There’s, I think, note cards
going around, so if people want to write down their
questions and give them to this fine gentleman
here, he will collect those. And we’ll have a live microphone
as well for Q and A. So, with that, let me
introduce our panel. So going from my right to
the far end of the stage, we have Dr. Vera Krekanova,
points for getting that right, chief resource officer
at Alleghany Conference on Community Development. Next, we have Dan Lawler,
senior vice president, human resources North America
for Teva Pharmaceuticals. Next, we have Don Pierson, secretary of economic
development, State of Louisiana. And then we have
Charlie Yao, president and chief executive
officer, YCA Methanol One. So you can see we’ve got a great
panel here representing both industry and economic
development and the perfect people
to talk about this issue. So with that, I’m going to
just go down the line here, and we’ll start with Vera, and
you have your five minutes.>>Great, thank you, John. Good afternoon. My name is Vera Krekanova,
and I come from Pittsburg or the greater Pittsburgh area. I work at an entity that
focuses on economic development in the Southwestern
Pennsylvania region, so we are about ten-county
region bordering Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia on
that end of Pennsylvania. And we focus on economic
development, and sort of our end goal is
to try, I’m sure it’s familiar to many of you in this
space, it’s making sure that our region is
a thriving region. And we sort of, our
strategies are investment and strong economy. Investment in thriving people. Investment and quality of place. And so workforce and workforce
issue penetrate all these three areas, right. Without people with the right
skills and enough people, we cannot have strong economy. Without good jobs and
good matches between jobs and people skills, we can’t
have thriving resident. And we need both of that
to invest in the place and the quality of place we
have, we’re fortunate to have in Western Pennsylvania. My role specifically,
it’s to drive strategies, mostly around sort of
translating data and insight and information into so what. And again, workforce is
somewhere the crossroad, right. So it’s, in my role, I
look at what were we then, what’s happening,
what’s happening now and where we’re heading. But also, how do we compare to
regions that we compete with or we thrive to catch up with. Some of the investments that we
do around workforce have things to do with talent attraction. We want more people in Western
Pennsylvania, so we look at how to attract people, how to
engage them, how to retain them. We also are fortunate enough
to have a lot of people coming to take advantage of the 60 plus
higher education institutions that we have in our region. But then many of them
leave after they graduate. So we also focus on
talent retention, how do we retain the
40,000 graduates every year that we have in our region. And we also focus on the sort
of the issues around upscaling or maybe more adept skilling
to making sure that people at any level and at any
age have the right skills to keep up with the economy. We’re very fortunate to
have some strong momentum around innovation economy in
our region and across sectors. We have strong manufacturing,
strong healthcare, strong business presence. And all of these sectors, as
you know, innovate and change, and they change the
occupations they have. And so part of our strategy is
how do we make sure that people in our region keep up
with the new occupation, the new skills demand and can
see the opportunities they have in the new economy. So I’ll stop there. Obviously, we use a lot of
data, data-driven approach, but how things get really
happen in Pittsburgh is through strong collaboration. We are a business-led entity,
but we work very closely with our local state government,
federal government as well, but also our philanthropy
and other civic leaders.>>Okay, Dan.>>Thank you. Again, Dan Lawler. I lead human resources for Teva
Pharmaceuticals North America. Teva Pharmaceuticals is
the world’s leading generic pharmaceutical company. We’re headquartered in Israel. We have 43,000 employees. And North American and the
United States represents actually the largest
market for Teva. So certainly, workforce
development is really important. Finding the workforce
is very important. But in my role, it’s more than
just finding the workforce, it’s also how do we
truly attract them, how do we motivate them,
and how do we retain them. The labor market for pharmaceuticals
is quite competitive. So we need to differentiate
ourselves in some ways, not just when we find candidates but also how do they choose
Teva over our competitors. And then once they come to
Teva, how do we get them to be motivated, high-performing
and to stay with us for as long as possible. These are the types of
challenges, you know, that we face, and I think
they’re somewhat similar to what Vera described from
a different perspective. Some of the things that
we’ve done in terms of recruiting is we went to
what we call an RPO model, recruitment process outsourcing. We linked up with a particular
company that is an expert in talent acquisition, and they
pretty much do the recruiting for us in partnership with us. And what’s nice about that is
they have broad reach, but also, you know, we ebb and flow in
terms of our hiring needs. So we don’t have this full
workforce of recruiters working for us, but we’re leveraging
a firm that can ebb and flow as our needs ebb and flow. The other thing about finding
employees is, of course, the old days of classified
ads are gone. A lot is done through
social media. So we have partnerships
with companies like LinkedIn and Glassdoor where many of
our opportunities are posted. And we also get very
interesting statistics and data on the applicant flow
and the types of people that are visiting our jobs
and hitting those sites. So that’s some of
the things we’ve done on the recruiting side. On the development and training, we also are leveraging
technology to a large degree. So we offer online programs for
all levels of our workforce. Some of that is required,
particularly around regulatory compliance. But a lot of it is elective,
so employees can really tap into their own self development to pick things that
interest them. We also offer specialized
training for our managers, and this is really key because,
you know, the data shows that most employees either stay
or leave an organization based on the relationship
with their manager. So we put extra investment
and focus into our management
development training to ensure that those people that
are dealing directly with our employees on a day to day basis are being
effective in their roles. And then I think
thirdly, when we look at high potential employees
and executive development, we do have partnerships
with academic institutions and their executive
education departments. For instance, we’re just now in
the design phase with University of Pennsylvania Wharton
on an academy for our top commercial talent. And we’re looking really
forward, and I know that some of the people that
will attending that program are very much
looking forward to it. So there are a few examples
of things we’re doing from inside a company to
help attract and motivate and retain our talent. But I think for me, the one
thing that overarches all of that is your work
environment and your culture. And we’re doing a lot now to
really ensure that we’re putting in place a one Teva culture. And that has aspects to it. One is a lot around
inclusion and diversity. It’s really important, once
you bring all these people to your organization, that
they all feel like they belong, and they can all
make a difference. Another one is our
mission and our values. People need to find
meaning in their work. So we’ve gone a long way to help
with understanding our mission and our values, and
not just understanding but living them day
in and day out. And then I think probably
a third would be corporate social responsibility. We see this as really
important now in people’s choice of which organizations
they join. That their organization
is kind of giving back to the communities, and they’re
really making a difference in the world. So, we’ve really
increased our efforts around corporate
social responsibility and the involvement
of our employees in those efforts as well. So I’ll stop there. But that gives you a
flavor from the inside of an organization
of what we’re doing.>>Right, right. Secretary Pierson.>>Well, we can have a very
lengthy conversation today. I’m sure we can’t cover all the
topics in the time allocated. Certainly here with two users that certainly bring their
perspective to workforce and meeting the demands,
their corporate demands. But, you know, from a larger
more strategic standpoint, it’s a critically important
topic to governments, to corporations, to citizens,
all of the entire system that make up what workforce is. Some extraordinary
trends right now. Sort of a rural to urban
migration that’s happening out there. It’s very challenging
for our rural states and rural communities right now to retain any kind
of talent at all. Certainly, beyond this is
the technology backdrop that’s changing. You talked about seven
million jobs available in the US right now, 700,000 of
those jobs are in technology. And going forward, even
just more than say the three to four years from
now, IBM tells me that there will be 120 million
workers that have new skills, new software, new elements of
their job performance to learn. So, this whole integration
of being able to navigate the new jobs,
the jobs of tomorrow, jobs that can’t even
be described today, put us in a position where we
have to be able to not skate to the puck but skate to
where the puck is going to be. So this is going to require
apprenticeship, a great start. But certainly, we
recognize that it begins with early childhood education. It continues with children
that are ready to learn in their school systems. It extends into credentials
now that are community colleges and even in K through 12 people
can learn portable credentials that they can take
on to the jobs that they will hopefully secure
in that future point in time. And we know that the talent is
that currency of technology. And not all jobs are
going to be tech jobs. There’s going to be a lot
of manufacturing jobs. There’s going to be jobs
that aren’t in a workplace, whether it is a home-based
office or that Uber driver,
that’s his office. All the different
systems that are at play right now are radically
changing what has traditionally been a model that we thought
of in fairly narrow terms. And again, as we move into
artificial intelligence, virtual reality, all these new
fields, they will cross over not into just the entertainment
and manufacturing operations, but those same elements will
be a part of the training that we execute for workers. In Louisiana today, we are
building training modules in virtual and augmented
reality for Exxon Mobile. So there’s a tremendous
challenge that lies ahead of us. It will require participation
from many different elements and certainly the outcome that
we all seek are these elements of a vibrant economy,
quality jobs and a sense that you’re contributing
that’s so important to retaining workers
in the workplace today. So those are some of the
things that we could touch on in our conversation.>>Great. Mr. Yao.>>Thank you. And my name is Charlie Yao, and
I’m running YCI Methanol One. So, I’m sure everybody in this
room and many of you, right, you come here probably
for two things, right. Number one, you try to make
decision to invest in the US. Or some of you have already
made the decision to invest, now you’re thinking how am
I going to run it, okay? And for YCI we have gone
through both journey, so I wanted to take this
opportunity to share with you how we handled
those tough questions. And today’s topic is more
around workforce development. So I’m not going
to share too much about what the journey takes
to make decision, right. I’m assuming you have made
the decision you’re going to take the second step,
which how am I going to staff it [inaudible]. Okay. Quickly background. YCI Methanol One is
really a subsidiary of a Chinese investment. From China we took
this journey in 2014 to build a $1.8 billion
chemical plant, which makes 1.8 million
pounds of methanol a year. So that’s a world class, world
scale plan that we are building. We’re about 60% completed. We spent over a billion
dollars already, so 1.2 billion, so $600 million to go. And by mid of next year, we are finished the
mechanical completion. And so we currently have more
than 1,000 construction workers at site to basically
finish building it. And by mid of next year we
finish mechanical completion this plant will start and run. And it will, it’s a
state of art design plan. And we’ll employ over
150 high-skilled worker. What I’m calling a high-skilled
worker is the base pay rate is $80,000 a year. Those are really what they call
the quality jobs that’s required to staff around this plant. So, it’s a chemical plant,
right, so you are not going to build in the highly dense
population areas, right. Only place you can get permit
in the thanks for State of Louisiana to allow
us to select site for the incentive program
and help us decide. It’s going to be a rural area. That’s what chemical plants
are supposed to be located. So regarding who you
are, either high-tech or the traditional manufacturing
company, you’re going to need to find qualified and
skilled work just to staff it. And that is the challenge
I have, right. So over the last five years,
I’ve been fortunate to be able to build a billion
dollar project. Now I have to build a billion
dollar company now basically to run. That’s is journey I’ve
had with the company. So, what other challenges
we’ll have is even in the rural Louisiana areas, you need to find
high skilled workers. What do you do, right? So I think that some of
the challenge we have, I’m not going to give an answer. Some was just searching,
but the angle that we take to approach this challenge
will be number one, you have to be a
welcome employer, that people wants
to work for you. So you must do some
basic things. Number one, you must
build a safe plant that people wants to work. Nobody wants to come to
work plant that’s not safe. That’s your basics, right. You must have attractive
employee, sorry, packages. You underpay the worker game in the low unemployment
rate, right. You give them the below-average
salaries, you’re not going to attract high-skilled workers. So one thing we learn, right,
that for highest worker, when you hire today, that does
not have a job, you’re going to have a challenge
to bring them in to make part of
your core team. I cannot say everybody that
does not have a job is not good but who do not have
job cannot be base of your employment base, right. Which means you need to attract
the talent from other employers to build around, okay. And how you do that. So need to offer
the reasonably good and competitive incentive
programs for them of some of the unique employee
benefit packages. Without going into the detail,
so you must come across that. That’s the basics. You do have to provide
the opportunity for people when they make the decision to
jump from one employer to you, other than the money
is one thing, they got to have something
else for that, right. That’s called the
opportunity for growth. Okay. You don’t address
that, people come in, they’re not challenged. They’re bored. They move on, right. So, and how to find them. It is really, the people like
us, right, come from a, well, I have stayed in this
company for many years, given my employment history, but as a foreign direct
investor, you come in. And How do you find
the qualified workers, not by yourself. There are many, many
resources that you can access if you know how to get there. And the US government, at all
levels, are ready and willing and capable to help you. So I made a great friend with
Don Pierson as a secretary of the Economic Development
for State of Louisiana, right. He’s the one signed the what
they call incentive packs with me, represents
the State of Louisiana. His department also offers
a lot of the resources, and I will let him to
elaborate a lot more from early marketing
your company, marketing the jobs available,
staging the job fairs, provided early screening testing and provide early
basic trainings. That’s all offered by the state. Many of the states
actually do that. So access to, right, government
resources, it’s a great helpful. Don’t do it yourself, okay. [Inaudible]. Including all the way up to
the Commerce Department, okay. So that’s number two, right. Number three also
requires [inaudible]. I remember 2014,
that’s five years when we started this journey,
and I went to a high school and started to support the
called STEM, the science, technology, engineer
and math program, right. And at first people said, why
you be interested in STEM? Are you faking? A lot of companies said when
I told them I have a PhD in chemistry they said,
yeah, you build your STEM. And the point I try to make is
that asset we invest is what? Minimum of 30 to 50 years. But that’s a life. So the high school student
when I’m talking to, I know that five years later
they will be finishing college. Those are the ones if
not today’s workforce, they are your future workforce. Think of long, think of
reputation, why you build, when they pick and
choose an employee to go, your name is the first
come to their mind. You have won the game, okay. So do something around that one. I can tell you all the
details of what we have done with the schools, with
the board, with the PTA, Parent Teachers Association,
many more things you do. Keep that. You’re not only solving
today’s employee problem, you do have to solve the
succession plan issues, the five to ten years beyond. So, I’ll stop here, and I have
many more stories to tell. I have been gone through that.>>That’s great. That’s really powerful in terms
of how you broke that down and laid it all out
for everybody. I have a number of
questions on my list, but I’m hoping everybody starts
thinking about the questions that they have for the
panel, because we’ll get to you really shortly here. But Vera, maybe I
could come back to you. You talked broadly about the
use of data and the partnerships that you’ve developed. I imagine everybody kind of has
access to similar kinds of data and understands, you know,
partnerships that are out there. But can you talk a little bit
about some of the unique ways or something, or a model
that you see as replicable or scalable across the country?>>So I’ll give you a
very specific example of how we use data
to drive strategy, and then I’ll tell
you a little bit about our framework
for the data. Let me start with the framework. We selected early on sort of
a bench, 15 benchmark regions that have similar
sort of economy. And then divided
them in three groups. One group is sort
of the peer group. They are doing just about
the same we are, you know, so they’re sort of our, and
then the competitive regions, so that’s a third of
our benchmarks that are, that we constantly compete
with for business attraction. And sometimes, or, you
know, often they win. We wanted to sort of
to keep that in mind. And then there are
aspirational regions that they are outperforming
us and we sort of want to understand how
they got to it. And we look at everything,
every piece of data, every piece of information sort
of keep it constantly moving on these 15 benchmarks and
see who is doing what and how. And from there, really sort of
build some models for analytics. And think about well
what if, right, what if we mixed
these ingredients, what would happen there. We are obsessive about
talking to people. So it’s not just the data, but we will call our
benchmark regions’ colleagues and keep asking them about what
they do in their strategies. How they measure
impact, and all of that. So that’s really more sort
of the model how we think. But let me go back
to sort of the issue around talent retention. As I said, we graduate about
40,000 students every year in the sort of the
greater Pittsburgh region. And about half of them leave. And we were sort of puzzled, like we didn’t want
them to leave. And then we thought like
why would they leave? Pittsburgh is the
most livable city. And if you haven’t been
there, please come to visit. It is true. It’s a great place. But we had such a large
portion of students leave it. And so what we did
is several things. One was, you know,
gather some hypotheses. One hypotheses was there’s
no jobs for these students. And it was like, well we
can quickly dispel that. We look at their major. We will look at what
they graduated with. We look at the labor
market, and there is a match. There was very few
majors that are sort of like let’s say
marine biology, and we don’t have coasts, right. But most of it was in line. So then we looked at the job
posting and analyze, you know, and now with technology, and I’m
sure you have the same tools, we can analyze every job
posting there is, and we had 50, 60,000 job postings, and we
looked at the requirements there and we compare it to the
profiles of the graduates. And one of the things was
that consistently what we saw that most of our
jobs, job postings, said a bachelor’s degree, two
to three years of experience. That was the majority
of the jobs. And so that was, we knew we
were on to something, right. So then we sort of
assembled focus groups with these different students,
and they confirmed that one of the things is I don’t have
two to three years’ experience. I have a bachelor’s degree, but
I don’t have the experience. I have to go somewhere
else to get it, right. And that was in a
way a no-brainer, and I am sure you
all experienced that when employers sort of
drive the talent selection, they put the requirements
because they want to get the best of the best. It makes sense, right. But we sort of, with this
data, and just building some of the awareness, we brought
the business community together. And I mentioned we’re
business-led, so we have easy access. We have about 400
employers plus others that are willing
to work with us. And so we said look at what
we’re doing here collectively. We’re driving the students away. So, that was a very quick
win that we saw a lot of employees dropping the two
to three years of requirements, because they knew they’re
reducing their talent pool. And obviously, you want skills
and you want experience, but you might want to build it. One other thing that
we did from there, if you really need experience
how we can collectively build it in the region. And again, a no-brainer. Initiative like we should all
have internship opportunities, right. And a lot of companies
do, but we also realize, and we analyze how many of our companies actually
have internship established. And we were shocked,
along with our partners in the business community,
how few of them actually do, and those who do, how
deep the experience or how actually there’s not
a lot of depth in experience. And so we thought, okay, well this is something
we could do, right. We could, you know, let’s keep
asking the students what else is there, and then let’s calibrate
the internship experience for it. And so we continued to ask
the students, and we realized that they have nothing
against Pittsburgh, but they didn’t experience it. So they were busy on campus
studying and majoring, right. But they didn’t explore the
region through everything it has to offer, vibrant
outdoor activities and arts and all of that. And also, they did not know
the employers in the region. They are not thinking that
way, and they would just, whoever comes to campus to
recruit, they would just sign up with them, didn’t
matter where they were. And so we started to
build this program. Again, it’s so simple, but we’ve
seen a lot of actually impact. That we had several companies
that did internship really well. And they came together and
say, we can share how we do it if others want to replicate. So we created a cohort
of business. We have five that
were the stars, and then we had 30
that wanted to learn. And spent a couple
of weeks around sort of exchanging those practices. And then we mobilized
the community around to offer the
experience for the interns. And so this year we have 1,500
students across 40 companies. And they do have their jobs. But they get to do all
the different social and professional networking
and you name it activities. That everybody pitches in. And, you know, they go to
kayak, they go to ballpark, they go to have CEO,
breakfast with CEOs. They go to open houses
to different companies. They go to bass stores
[phonetic] to see the regions. And obviously, we’re again
analyzing, we get feedback. We analyze what they tell us. We get their directions. But this is one of the most
recent examples of how we sort of took the data, sort of said
this doesn’t make any sense, let’s fix it, and
let’s collaborate.>>That’s great. That’s great. And I’ll have to talk to you
later about how we convert some of those internships
into apprenticeships. But Dan, maybe you can talk
a little bit more too about, you talked about
some of the retention and recruitment strategies. Can you talk a little bit about
what are the workforce factors that Teva considers
and any expansion or investment decisions?>>Yeah, so you know,
Teva entered the US market in the 80s, and honestly, we
grew a lot through acquisition. So we weren’t consciously
selecting work sites. But we did through
acquisition really expand across the United States. And we’ve held on to sites where we think it
matches our talent needs. So, you know, in some of
the metropolitan areas that are connected to top
universities, we’ve kept sites where we have R and D
employees because we feel that the collaboration with
academia is really strong. So we have that in the
suburbs of Philadelphia, as well as in Cambridge
and Boston. We also for our manufacturing
have a very disperse network of plants across the United
States which is helpful because it mitigates the
risk if you have any problems with a particular
plant, your supply and distribution is more evenly
spread across the country. So I think there are some
factors that have played into why we are where we are. But I think what we look at,
of course, is always first and foremost the quality
of the talent that we need and where we can find it. And once we’ve determined that, then it’s a balance
of the cost of labor. Certain markets are definitely
more expensive than others. Sometimes we decide consciously,
yes, we’re going to enter into that market because
the talent is strong, and we’re willing to
pay for that talent. I think probably the third
factor is really the legal and regulatory environment, which can vary from
state to state. And while, you know, it’s
important to have regulations, sometimes if regulation is
too burdensome, it’s too much, it makes it difficult
to operate our business. So, the truth would be we
would shy away from areas that are too heavily regulated. It just makes it too
hard and too expensive for us to do our work. So I think that would be some
of the factors that we look at for those decisions.>>Sure, great, great. All right, Don, Charlie gave
a great testimonial there to the great partnerships
that happen across Louisiana. Can you talk a little bit more about the programs
you have in Louisiana? We’ve heard about
FastStart and others. But what makes Louisiana so
successful and attracting?>>That’s a great
question, particularly in the context of
say Select USA. Certainly anyone contemplating
a foreign direct investment, it has to be a very keen
consideration and concern about, you know, how do I
identify the workforce, hire the workforce,
train the workforce. So for us to take on
that challenge for YCI, became enormously important. And it’s been important
to both the domestic and foreign country investors
that we’ve had across the board. Certainly, we’ve built one of the best workforce
training programs in America. We’ve done this in that most
of state agencies will have, much like the US Department of
Labor, a Department of Labor or Workforce Commission
that’s embedded in government, and it’s a very active
and important one. And it receives federal funding
and certain training funds and other opportunities. But it is outward facing. It’s looking at the
entire population and the citizens of your state. What we have uniquely
and is found in a few other states is a
workforce group, a task force, that’s totally focused
on this new industry. And supporting them from
the very beginning as part of the conversation
around recruitment and then through the decision
making process and then through construction and
then through startup and then through the ramp of employees
and through the next expansion. So it is a long term
public/private partnership that we seek to provide in
this outstanding workforce. And it’s not really about
putting the widgets together. That’s a part of it. But it begins with identifying, recruiting using these
new sophisticated tools that allow social media
and other ways to interact, to identify candidates. To bring those candidates
forward then to have classwork that seeks to do
survey and determine who within this group are
the individuals we want to be a member, to execute
the mission of this company and to operate within
the kind of culture that this company
seeks to establish. And so it may not be that
you’re looking for that person with a certain skillset. You’re looking for that
person that has the ability to learn almost any skillset. And so helping to identify this
small universe of candidates and introduce the
candidates to the company. They make the selection
of who they want to bring on to be trained. Do that training,
whether it’s via a tablet in a classroom setting,
in a work-base setting. If we have to deploy to another
country to make the video of the kind of activities that
take place and bring that back. You heard me speak earlier about
building virtual reality modules and augmented reality
training modules. Whatever it takes to give
this a very sophisticated and successful approach to
training these employees, to be ready to go day one
is what our program seeks to accomplish and then maintains
that long term relationship. So other states do have
some similar programs, but the key elements that are in there are this strong
partnership with the company that you take on and focus
specific assets in order to develop the training
modules, copyright it to them, protect their IP and build
a culture that they direct. It’s not in any way, shape
or form a one-size-fits-all. And I will also illuminate the
other part that is so critical to the success that we’ve
enjoyed that is critical to today’s conversation as well. In the field of economic
development, we’ve talked about it for more than 20 years. The important integration
and partnership of education and economic development. But it’s been, to
be quite frank, much more lip service
in the past. Today, you can no longer
really be successful in that environment. So today, we take the
corporation to the campus, and we talk to the campus
about the kinds of skillsets in chemical engineering
or instrumentation or what the outcomes
that we’re seeking to provide this very high
quality job and to make sure that that is part of the program of instruction for
these graduates. Now, here’s probably where
it broke down in the past. You ring the doorbell
at the university, tell them how important this is,
they say thank you very much, and then they close the door. We are actually entering into
contracts with the universities, with the community colleges, that have specific
performance requirements that we need these kind of
certificates to be coming forth and represented to
the companies. And in exchange for doing that,
we have some dollars available so that you have the
resources as the university or the community college to
go and secure the instructors for that program, the
software for that program, whatever the costs are. Because education is under the
financial pressures the same way that government and industry it. But utilizing our program,
which is called FastStart, to deliver this seamless
workforce to corporations and having these extraordinary
partnerships that we’ve built with the universities and community colleges
all over our state. Where we’ve had a state where
the leadership of our governor and the allocation of
resources from our legislature to actually put money
that’s investing in people has really
moved the needle for us.>>Great, great. All right, one last
question from me, so please get ready
with your questions. Charlie, I just really
want to give you a platform to tell us another story, because your first
one was so great.>>It was a great story.>>Thank you.>>I’ll pitch it up though. One thing that’s
really of interest, certainly this administration
and others, rural economic development is
a big issue in this country and just fascinated
and would love to understand what gave you
confidence to take that leap to invest in a rural community
in Louisiana and invest, make this big of an
investment in that area. I’m sure it would have been a
lot easier to pick an urban area with a large workforce
and, you know, plenty of people to retrain. So it was certainly
a leap of faith. So I’d love to understand
what gave you that confidence and to take that leap,
that opportunity.>>Thank you. Talk about, now he forced
me to talk about stage one, why would I pick the area. Then I come back to
separate, what Don’s story and what we have done with
the state of Louisiana. Why it makes us successful. Yes. And the site we
select in Louisiana is in the parish called
Saint James. It only has 28,000 residents. It’s predominantly
sugar farm fields. The predominant industry
is either sugarcane or the sugar mill. That’s probably 80,
only 20 to 30% of the local economy
and the employment. Largest employer I think
is a sugar farm industry. And what we built is a chemical
plant, state of art design. So that sounds like really,
really mismatch, right. Clearly, first point is the
site selection is important. Yes, you tend to select
a site for chemical plant which will be less
public population densely, because otherwise the chance
for you to get permanent, anybody thinking about
going to California, I’m not sure anybody come
from California, right, your chances are zero, right,
or close to zero, right. So, and so you need to
select site which is kind of business-friendly, right,
or industrial-friendly. And for the chemical industry,
I’m only going to talk about the industry
sector that I am. It needs to be where it’s
more inducive, right. Force myself to build a
plant in New Orleans, right. The chance is to
be zero again So, on the only hand that’s not
just a particularly rural area to solve your problem. It does have other things,
right, for the industry where you need to be close to raw material,
which is natural gas. Texas, Louisiana, great. You need to have access
to the power grid, we consume a lot of electricity. You need to have that. You need it close to a pipeline. We use a lot of fresh water. By sitting next door to
the Mississippi River, the water basically
is free, right. You need to have a lot
of kind of logistics. You have to ship the
product, export deep sea. You have to ship the
product by barge. You have to ship the
product by rail and by truck. Once you pick those in, the site
selection becomes pretty narrow to a few that really
meet your needs. The next one is Mr. Don
Pierson is I gave you so much good stuff, right. At that point, you have to
make leap of faith, right. There’s no right or wrong
time to make a decision today, economic force was, it’s bad. That’s why you need to shake
out it’s never a wrong time to make a decision, because
the decision you make, it’s going to last
for 30 to 50 years. You think when I time it right,
you will always be wrong. So have that feeling and then
make that decision for a leap of faith is really the first
step which will be made. Okay. So but a lot of the investment decisions
also anchor the kind of project economics. That’s the raw material, the
access to the natural resources, the logistics, all the
others, and the permit, right. So those are decisions –>>You could have
all those things, and if you don’t have a
workforce to work at the plants, how do you make it work?>>Number one, you do have to
look at the larger picture. If the larger picture is
pessimistic, don’t do it, right. I would not invest, pick a place
to say in, though in the area which does not have a very
large chemical industry. Because you’re not going to
find skill working in that area. You have Gulf Coast,
that’s Texas an Louisiana, has more than 60%
of US installed, petro, chemical facility. So, in a larger picture, your
skilled workforce is down. In the particular parish
where it is not there. So you have to address, you
cannot make a fatal flaw, pick an area that’s
no chemical plant. But you can address
the localized problem, which is Saint James Parish. So, I think that maybe
I answered the question.>>Absolutely.>>A couple of examples,
something what Don has said. I just gave the example
of how we work with, I mean truly building
the resources in this country is tremendous. Don’t have to do
all that yourself. You go find it, you will. Name a few examples, just
how we work with the state, in particular with Don’s
economic development department, right. Number one, you want to
recruit, people don’t know you. You made a decision, you
start building plant, how people get to
know you, right. Okay. The platform this nature,
platform many of this nature, Don and I or many of the
LED folks, we go together, it’s a way state, put
their name behind you. Make your name know. Actually, it’s a free
promotion, right. State has put together,
and Don’s department, put a video for YCI
as a recruiting tool. Use the name of State
of Louisiana behind us. Okay. So that is a way to get
your name because when you’re in construction, you really
have a few years to incubate that process, get your
name out, get your name out in a positive way, right. That’s number one start. Then the state or parish
government has all kind of the available ways
and means to help you. So the FastStart is one. We did job fair. For first hire of
about 30 operators, we co-staff that job fair with the LED staff,
and we, for 30 jobs. We have 500 people lined up
for interview on the screening. And that’s the screening, it’s
called a screening interview. The name, the job is well out
by the time you get there. Okay. Then, the next question
is how you select them. You either go to your
resource or use a third party. Actually, the State of Louisiana
already have the capability to build. If I’m going to build
an HR resource to screening 3,000 resumes, 500
interviews, you’re never going to have that capability
to do that. And you also invest
the capability, you’re only going to
do it once, right. So, use the external resource
while it’s available to you, and they are there, believe me. Industrial Association,
don’t be shy. So it is not a solo journey. So in Louisiana, we’re a part of
the Manufacturing Association. We’re a part of the
Chemical Association. In the parish we’re
in called the next 25, which is industrial alliances
to pull the resources together to strengthen the local
education problem. You want to get people
to work with you, you have to be good
employer, right. But you got people that wants
to move to that community, you do have to work
with government to make them believe it is
also place to raise my family. That’s a very big topic. A single employer would
not be able to address. You have to form industrial
alliances and go through public and private alliances
to address that. So that’s also important
key very few people forgot. You got to make that community where they want to
raise a family. Otherwise, you get them,
you cannot keep them.>>Yeah.>>That’s another long story.>>Thank you. So clearly, public
private partnerships, whether in Pennsylvania
or in Louisiana are key. We’ve a few minutes left
here, so we have microphones on either side of the room. We’d love to get some questions. We’ll try to take
as many as we can.>>My name’s Jack
Kerry [phonetic] of Kerry Manufacturing
in Connecticut. We’re one of the featured
companies that brought work back from China, so we’re now
from a unique position because after college, I
went through apprenticeship at Pratt & Whitney aircrafts
and a four-year thing. And it was a masterful
program that they had because in Connecticut with the
submarines and the aircrafts and everything we built there,
I would say that a full 50% of the small manufacturers,
probably guys like me, started our own companies
as we got out of there.>>Wow.>>You know, so these
apprenticeship programs are amazing things to go through. Now one of the problems that I
see is that, I went to Germany and looked at their program. Now, I’m not recommending
that we use a German model, because we’re Americans,
and we’re just not that rigid, and we shouldn’t be. But it’s a good place to start when you’re putting
these programs together. And one of the areas that I
see a huge weakness in is first of all, government visibility. Germans, what 70 or
80 million people, the government puts
$8 billion a year into their apprenticeship
programs and internships, which for us would be 24 billion
just on the economy scale. And the businesses commit
an equal amount to that. Okay. The other thing
that we have a problem with is our agrarian educational
system, which goes to, mam, your point of the [inaudible]
step by step, high school, college, shouldn’t be that way. Businesses should be involved with these apprenticeships
right from high school. Because if you get a
person and they train in your company,
they don’t leave. They stay in the
company like 85%. So integrating these things
all in a package, you know, is very, very important. And really, the businesses
are out there willing to work, but the government
leadership from the schools and from the policy
is just not there. We need to get 25
billion or whatever it is into these things,
and we got to work. I mean as far as, you know, chasing the puck
go Bruins, right. But I mean we’ve really got to
start considering this stuff, because that’s what
makes it all work. And the other problem I
have in the rural areas is that people are going to
continue to come to cities. So we don’t have enough
people in the urban areas. You’re going to find more in
the rural areas who want to work up from what they’re
doing there. But we don’t have enough people. And that’s, and it’s not
like people are trying to get in the country, right. I mean we really don’t have
enough in the urban areas. And you’ve got this huge problem with the rural areas
going backwards. And that’s going to be
another area that has to be addressed a little more. But hitting these policy areas, I don’t know how you get
the money and how you do it, but that’s what’s got to occur.>>Sure.>>And just to, I’m not
sure I got a question in there necessarily, but I
think there is a great point around apprenticeship. And there are sort of what I’ll
call degrees of apprenticeship. Apprenticeship has a very
strong connotation and you’re in a rigid program
with a certificate or a certification at the end. And that’s important
and valuable. One of the things
we’re doing just shy of that word apprenticeship is
work-based learning and working on getting some of those
high schools’ students onto the plant floor or into
these other venues of work so that they can try
it before they buy it. And so do you. You get to see if that employee
is going to show up on time, if they’re going to be able to meet the safety
standards, all those things. So there is a formulation there
that we think is a great bridge for both understanding from
the employer’s standpoint and from the student
standpoint, if we can do more of that type of integration. And we’re doing outreach in our
state right now to foster that.>>And just quickly, to
piggyback, I pretty much agree with everything you said there. You know, we have
looked at a lot of our international competitors
and made a lot of changes, but just on the investment
side, I mean we’ve gone from zero federal dollars
supporting apprenticeship about five years ago where
in the next year or two, there’ll probably
be a billion dollars in federal money invested in
apprenticeship in various ways, including where just put out
about 65 million to states across the country, 51
or so states are coming in for apprenticeship funding. We’re doing a marketing
campaign out later this year. So a lot of the things you’re
talking about we’re moving in the right direction where we
don’t quite have the 24 billion that you talked about to
be on par, but we’re moving in the right direction. Next question.>>Hi, my name is Charlene,
I’m with China Daily. First of all, thank
you very much for the very inspiring panel. I have question for
Dr. Yao, [inaudible]. You talked about the first
stage of made a decision and second stage
build up the factory. I have a question relating
to your third stage. How to, because you
mentioned earlier you want to build a factory that attract
people to come and to stay. So what be your vision in terms
of retaining the workforce, and what kind of advice
Secretary Pierson can give to Dr. Yao in terms of
keeping those workers and make them happy. And I have my last question
goes beyond a little bit of this topic, but I
cannot help to throw it in. Right now US and China
is in the trade dispute. So, has this trade
dispute affected any of your investment here? Thank you very much.>>Okay, thank you. That’s a long question. So now I forgot the first half. So I understand. Just kidding. So, yes. So the conversation I
had with my HR manager, right. What is HR’s job in
my philosophy, right? HR job really is three buckets. Number one, it’s recruiting,
find the resource, right. The second one is retention,
what do you do to keep them. And the third one is
called development. That’s my theme of what
HR manager’s job is. That’s how we structure the
company, basically, on the HR, their three functional groups. The recruiting is big for us
because when you and, of course, with a 1,000 construction
workers, we’re now talking about permanent staff hiring. And that’s 150 of them. And so we’re going
through that stage, right. You start with 3,000
resumes, 500 interviews, and short list them, go
through standard test. And in chemical industries,
it’s pretty interesting. You have some basic tests
you have to pass in order to be qualified and go through
interview you hope the best ones are selected and that you
can get them to work for you. So that comes to the middle
one which is retention, right. Retention really covers
a few basic components. The first one I touched
a little bit is you have to offer a competitive
salary package. If you don’t, they
are not coming, okay. And the few things we do, I
just gave the story what we do, a little flavor, it’s
just not competitive, what does it mean
by competitive? Competitive means in our
case our base salary is at a 75 percentile of industry. It’s not average, 75 percentile
of the industry is really good. Which translates to
fresh college graduates, it’s about $60,000. I mean it’s a highly
automated plant, right. Basically, the people with
[inaudible] to be really by the time you select
them, it’s not required, but you’re going
to end up that most of them have a college degree. That’s when you have
3,000 people fighting for 30 jobs, right. That’s 1 in 100. Okay. That’s example of that. So you have that. Now there are other things. For the experienced workforces, just [inaudible]
looking at them. They are looking for other
things more valuable, right. Give an example. A company gave their
vacation policy, many of them gave a vacation
policy based on the year of service you have
in this company. You start with YCI,
year one, two weeks. The experiment works. I’m already five weeks. [Inaudible] that to you. So what we use, we use called
industrial, a credit services. How many years you work in the
relevant industry earn that. You have five weeks, you
kept five weeks, okay. So, many of the other
components you have to add to make you competitive, not
only for the new workers, if you’re a targeted market
is experienced operator. In our case, it is, right. I cannot have everybody come out
of college to run this plant. Most our workforce as
to be the one with 20, 15 to 20 years’ experience. You have to design a program
for that targeted market. And there just a few other
twists I’m just talking about how to get
them in the door. Now you talk about how
to keep them, right. How to keep them you have to have the competitive
package that’s good as other employer, right. What I in particular talk about is giving them the
opportunity to move up, right. It’s hourly worker. So when they come in
if they think I’m going to give them $50 an
hour, $30 an hour, next employee give me
things that can move. What you offer them is the
opportunity to move up. It’s a brand new plant, right. So the leadership is a vacuum. Whoever proves themselves is the
chance they can move beyond the hourly operator. Become the shift
supervisor, right. Become your operations
manager, right. And become that ladder,
continue that. In a new company, it’s
much easier to say it than the established one
because I just don’t have any job filled. You can say that, people
will believe you, right. So, that up move. Clearly, the big enough
operation plant allows them to cross move. Those are the opportunities
you offer the people to make them feel you really
care and this is a good company to work for and to
work for the long term.>>Great, great. Thank you. I think unfortunately we’re over
our time here this afternoon. But I would encourage if folks
are available to find any of us after the session,
and we’re happy to continue the conversation. But I would like to
thank our great panel and if we can give them a round
of applause, that would be great>>Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Again, just more information
than we can cover in an hour. So again, hopefully the
conversation can continue. So thank you all. Enjoy the rest of
the conference.

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