An Alternative to “Help Wanted”: Upskilling Existing Employees to Meet Changing Business Demands

As a result of recent economic growth in the United States, along with Administration policies that favor “on-shoring” of manufacturing back to the U.S., manufacturers have been faced with the challenge of talent shortages.  Traditionally for American manufacturers, when business demand spiked, “Help Wanted” signs attracted capable talent to fill needs.  In today’s environment, that same recruiting approach has not borne fruit as many more businesses compete to retain, and attract, their best talent.

One solution to this problem is the “upskilling” of existing employees to higher skilled positions within the organization.  This is often the development of entry or lesser experienced production personnel to advanced, high skill or technical roles.  Illinois BIS has been supporting this approach for many years, and more recently has found significant interest and participation in internal company “apprenticeship” programs that seek out interested staff that demonstrate desire and aptitude to learn and perfect the high level skills for these roles.  Some examples of recent success include:

A program at a specialty food processing equipment manufacturer:

  • Apprenticeship development of welders, fabrication techs and skilled equipment maintenance technicians

A program at an electrical equipment manufacturer:

  • Resulted in the development of several Lead Maintenance Technicians to service their growing demand

These programs solve the problem of limited talent availability and also provide excellent career path opportunities within companies while impacting the culture and morale of the organization.

Contact us to find out how Illinois BIS can help your organization at (630) 505-0500 or

Todd Stukenberg

Steve Gilbert
Senior Consultant