GRAND RAPIDS, MI. October 11, 2018. In the heart of a Grand Rapids business park, big changes are happening to address the ongoing skilled trades gap. Fortuitously, in the same month when the number of US job openings hit a record 7.1 million, the home of IMI’s new world-class technical training facility has officially been unveiled. The very unique facility is equipped with hi-tech Supply Chain technology, interactive equipment and qualified educators to facilitate invaluable training for technicians prior to them entering the field.
“As unemployment hovers near historic lows, over 80% of construction firms have reported they are having a hard time finding qualified workers to hire, while the U.S. Department of Education reports that there will be 68% more job openings in infrastructure-related fields in the next five years than there are people training to fill them.” This according to Kathy Caprino in a recent issue of Forbes magazine.
One of the ways IMI is addressing this issue is by creating an environment in which job seekers can become the very qualified workers that the aforementioned firms are so desperately seeking. It’s thanks to the partner- ship with Supply Chain integration companies such as Dematic, that IMI is able to create a facility that replicates what technicians will experience while in the field. No longer will on-the-job training be the primary means to which workers acquire skills. This will clearly increase the attraction and retention of talent, improve quality and productivity, and vastly enhance on-site safety.
During the grand opening event, a respectful moment of reflection honored the late Kirk Mann by commemorating the facility in his name. Kirk, a former Mechanical Installation Manager at Dematic, tragically passed away earlier this year at the age of 51 due to complications from Leukemia.
“Kirk was always a major proponent for training and education, as well as a long-standing friend of IMI’s. So, it made complete sense to name the facility after him”, IMI President & CEO, Rudi Asseer, states. With his family on-hand, including Kirk’s wife Jackie and two sons; Caden and Grayson, Rudi and IMI’s Founder Diana Cuttell un- veiled a commemorative plaque and proposed a toast in Kirk’s memory to unveil the newly launched, “Mann Lab”.
The Mann Lab is not only intended to better address the technical requirements of integrators and end users, but to advance the skills and quality of life of our nation’s workforce. Though initially focused on Supply Chain technology, the lab will continually add curriculum to include additional products and solutions from IMI’s OEM partners. While it’s a first step, it’s an important one in an industry that is currently reeling from a national skilled trades gap.
The event also included a presentation and tour for several colleagues from the nearby Dematic North American Headquarters in a celebration of Dematic & IMI’s 20+ year partnership. IMI is looking forward to bringing the Mann Lab to life and continuing to disrupt the world of manufacturing and supply chain labor.
Formerly known as IMI Material Handling Logistics, IMI has established itself as one of the leading labor force providers in the Material Handling and Technology sectors. They have been providing some of the world’s most progressive Material Handling companies with labor solutions in the form of specialized technicians. In a time when quality technical resources are at an all-time low, IMI has qualified, trained and deployed over 10,000 such technicians serving the North American industry today.