New collar workforce emphasizes skills over college degrees

Industry Week interview with WorkingNation president Jane Oates
Jane Oates headshot
Jane Oates, WorkingNation President

This week, Industry Week took a look at the current modern manufacturing environment, focusing on what matters most when it comes to building a strong workforce. The consensus is that it’s time to update the blue-collar/white-collar approach to the workforce. It is time to recognize that it is “skills and ability—not academic pedigree—that matter most.”

WorkingNation president Jane Oates was interviewed for the article, and explains the importance of taking this approach—the new collar worker—for the sake of businesses and workers. “The terms blue- and white-collars jobs don’t make sense in today’s job market. They are outdated,”  says Oates.

“Different forms of education can lead to rewarding jobs, Oates says. And manufacturing is one of the industries that address all of these issues. Many companies are offering apprenticeships and other training opportunities to bring new people into the field, which has greatly improved its image.”

Oates praises “the work of the National Association of Manufacturers for moving the perception of the industry from dark, dangerous and dirty to clean, high-tech and exciting.

You can read the entire article in Industry Week here.