News Release

Training a skilled technical workforce

Reports and Proceedings

American Chemical Society

Training programs are becoming more common for aspiring science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers, according to two cover stories in Chemical & Engineering News, an independent news outlet of the American Chemical Society. These programs are increasingly important as companies worry they won’t have enough workers to fill available jobs in these fields, particularly for technical roles that do not require a Ph.D.

In Germany, apprenticeship programs are the most common forms of training for young talent, with about half of all high school students undergoing some type of dual vocational training provided by companies, says freelance writer Vanessa Zainzinger. This training combines practical, on-the-job training with more traditional education at a school, and is beginning to find a footing elsewhere in Europe, including Austria and Switzerland. In the U.K., companies collaborate with a training provider — such as a university, vocational school or college — to run an apprenticeship program, rather than industry itself taking the lead. These programs allow apprentices to “earn while they learn,” creating career opportunities that could otherwise be unattainable for many aspiring chemists.

In the U.S., community colleges are increasingly supporting careers in fields such as biotechnology, the petroleum industry, and chemical processing and manufacturing by forging partnerships with regional companies, says freelance writer Alla Katsnelson. And the role these programs play in training workers has become more important as the cost of higher education has soared. Community college programs combine a strong chemistry and biology foundation, which includes instruction on basic and advanced techniques, with soft skills important for students’ success in the workforce. With the need for employees on a steady upswing, particularly after the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, workforce training will continue to play an important role in staffing science fields.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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