Honda pledges to train 50,000 people in five years

Anna Engine Plant associate, Mark Bollheimer hosts a tour with area high school students during Manufacturing Day in October 2018. CONTRIBUTED.
Anna Engine Plant associate, Mark Bollheimer hosts a tour with area high school students during Manufacturing Day in October 2018. CONTRIBUTED.

Honda, one of Ohio’s and the Miami Valley’s biggest employers, is pledging to expand job training for 50,000 people in the next five years.

The automaker said Tuesday it has signed the White House’s “Pledge to America’s Workers” at its Technical Development Center located at the Honda Heritage Center in Marysville.

“With the signing of the pledge, Honda reinforced its commitment to expand training programs in order to ensure that the company’s associates who design, produce, sell and service Honda products have the necessary education and training to succeed in a world of rapidly changing technology,” the automaker said in a release Tuesday. “Additionally, Honda will continue to support and advocate for programs that educate future workers about manufacturing as a potential career.”

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“We applaud the White House’s efforts to equip the workforce of today and tomorrow with the skills needed to succeed and are honored to join the growing family of pledges,” Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America, Inc. and a board member of the National Association of Manufacturers, said in Honda’s statement. “Honda’s success has always been dependent on our dedicated and skilled associates.”

The rapid pace of advances in so-called CASE vehicle technologies (Connected, Automated, Shared, Electrified) is a key driver in the need for a renewed focus on math and science education in schools and in the training of current workers, Honda said.

Honda has about 14,000 Ohio employees and hundreds of workers who either work at a pair of Troy distribution centers or commute to the company’s central Ohio plants from the Dayton and Springfield areas. The company’s engine plant in Anna is an hour’s drive north of Dayton.

Honda cited a 2018 Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute study that identified an estimated 2.4 million open manufacturing jobs that would remain unfilled, due largely to a skills shortage in the U.S. manufacturing industry.

According to the study, this shortage is based on misunderstandings of manufacturing jobs held by young people and the retirement of baby boomers. “This shortfall represents more than half of the 4.6 million manufacturing jobs that will need to be filled between 2018 and 2028,” the company said.

Honda also said it will be among the first sponsors for Creators Wanted, an initiative developed by the National Association of Manufacturers to spur manufacturing employment. More details about initiative will be announced in February, Honda said.

“As an iconic manufacturer in America, Honda is setting a powerful example of how our industry is stepping up to solve one of the defining challenges of our time,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said.

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Each year, Honda hosts more than 200 university students in engineering and manufacturing support functions. In central Ohio alone – home to several Honda manufacturing and R&D operations – Honda has fostered relationships with local colleges and universities, where Honda offers scholarships and job-training opportunities to students enrolled in engineering and technology programs. This includes Honda’s support of over 20 individual Ohio State University Senior Capstone project teams each year.