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Business Expo Luncheon Speaker to Tackle Manufacturing Skills Gap

SPRINGFIELD — Advanced manufacturing in New England and the skills gap will be discussed as part of a national report produced by Deloitte Consulting, LLP and the New England Council at the Professional Women’s Chamber (PWC) Headline Luncheon at the Western Mass. Business Expo on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the MassMutual Center.

Alison Lands, senior manager for Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy and Operations practice and co-author and editor of “Advanced to Advantageous: The Case for New England’s Manufacturing Revolution,” will present highlights of the report as well as the strength of this backbone industry and the skills-gap challenges facing it.

According to the report, the industry sector has evolved to encompass aerospace and defense, medical devices and biotechnology, complex electronics, precision machining and optics. Despite the difficulties of the recession, advanced manufacturing has proven to be a resilient sector of the economy and is poised for a revolution.

However, it faces numerous challenges. It no longer relies on unskilled labor but rather requires a workforce skilled in technology, innovation and information. In addition to a generation of workers facing retirement, there exists a dearth of skilled workers qualified to work in manufacturing as well as an underskilled labor pool to fill available job vacancies within the industry. In addition, the report notes, the industry “suffers from a lack of brand awareness that keeps talent at arm’s length from meaningful employment opportunities.”

Lands will discuss the evolution of the industry, the challenges associated with such a skills gap, and the opportunities that New England can capitalize on to serve as accelerators for growth.

With a background in economics and more than 15 years of experience in public administration and professional services, Lands partners with leaders of state, local, and regional agencies to achieve results in the areas of health and human services, economic and workforce development, disaster recovery and resiliency, and transportation.

She holds a master’s degree in public and economic policy with a concentration in urban policy from the London School of Economics, a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in urban policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University.

Prior to joining Deloitte Consulting, she served as the senior economic-development specialist for the city of San Antonio, Texas.

James Brett, president and CEO of the New England Council, will join Lands for the presentation, made possible by the office of U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.

Advance registration for the luncheon is suggested, the cost is $40 per person. While this luncheon is included in the PWC Headline Luncheon Season Pass, season pass holders are required to pre-register. Registrations may be made online at www.professionalwomenschamber.com or by e-mailing [email protected].

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