Mar 7 180 Skills welcomes Oberg Industries

180 Skills is pleased to welcome Oberg Industries to the our family of employer partners.

Oberg and 180 Skills have partnered to expand the capacity of the Oberg CNC apprenticeship programs, and to offer both new and veteran employees enhanced training options that will help them get up to speed quicker than traditional training methods.

Oberg is a leader in apprenticeship programs that offer great opportunities to young people who are looking for a great career in manufacturing.

The Oberg Apprenticeship Training Program is a competency-based program certified by the US Department of Labor and the Veterans Administration and was established in 1953 to guarantee that the company would maintain future generations of highly skilled workers.

Oberg currently offers more than a dozen Apprenticeship Programs.

Joe O’Brien, Director of Human Resources at Oberg, said “We  had our own apprentice instructors and staff members test drive the 180 Skills system before  making the investment. It was a unanimous decision!  180 Skills was far superior to any other program we had used in the past. The training system differentiated itself with its multiple learning methodologies, the requirement of achieving course mastery before moving to the next level, while providing a modern and aesthetically pleasing learning experience.”

“We are pleased to have Oberg join us as employer partner. They are visionary in their approach

to learning and development and see the 180 Skills Training System as critical part of their future growth and success of the company.” said Joe Kitterman, CEO 180 Skills.

About Oberg

Founded in 1948, Oberg Industries has manufactured precision components and tooling made from a variety of materials used by Fortune 500 companies and other leading manufacturers throughout the world. Oberg excels at developing creative manufacturing solutions using a blend of advanced manufacturing practices and cutting-edge methods of production to give their customers a competitive advantage.

Mar 5 Spirit AeroSystems launches innovative, no-cost, workforce development program in Kansas

Through a grant provided by the Kansas Department of Commerce, Spirit AeroSystems has joined with the Workforce Centers of South Central Kansas, 180 Skills and Hutchinson Community College (HCC) to offer a training pathway for a full-time employment opportunity at Spirit AeroSystems as an Assembly Mechanic.

Anyone who thinks they have what it takes to work at Spirit can enroll in this free training offered through KansasWorks. The preemployment program typically takes less than two days to complete.

In the first round, the first 40 individuals to obtain the Aerospace Structures Basics Certificate and apply for the Assembly Mechanic position will be scheduled for interviews with the Spirit AeroSystems team.

Feb 27 Training Employees So They Don’t Leave For A Few Dollars More Somewhere Else

Joe Kitterman, founder and CEO of 180 Skills, explains to co-hosts Lew Weiss and Tim Grady the need for training employees so they don’t leave for a few dollars more somewhere else. The key to a more skilled employee is for the employee to do a 180 and head in a new direction for their career path, and for the employer to look internally first for candidates to take to the next level. Learn how your company can tap into over 700 existing courses and solve your training issues.

Listen to the recording over at Manufacturing Talk Radio

Feb 26 Why manufacturers must adopt digital learning

Manufacturers are behind the curve when it comes to using digital learning tools to create, grow, & retain their workforces. According to the LinkedIn 2018 learning report, 90% of companies in America offer digital learning tools to their employees. A survey conducted by 180 Skills shows that less than 20% of U.S. manufacturers offer digital learning tools, and those who do tend to focus on the development of their salaried workforce. The use of digital online learning for production workers is almost non-existent.

According to the US Department of Labor, 2018 was a record year for employment with more than 2.6 million jobs added, and eight consecutive months with unemployment below 4%.

While this is good news for job-seekers, it’s bad news for companies looking for skilled workers because chances are the skilled folks have a job.

For manufacturers this means that they have to be able to transform any job-seeker into a skilled worker, and they have to do it quickly, consistently, efficiently, and at a low-cost. While this may seem like an impossible task, digital learning tools can make this an achievable goal.

Further results from our survey indicate the following:

There’s a reason that 90% of companies use digital learning to create, grow, & retain their skilled workforces. Digital learning is there when you need it, the educational message is consistent, and the ROI is significant.

Because manufacturing requires the use of “hands”, there’s a misconception that manufacturing technical skills can’t be taught in an online medium. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Self-paced, online courses do a much better job of teaching the technology than traditional “mouth-to-ear” on-the-job, or classroom training methods. Online courses don’t depend upon the teaching style of the person training, nor do they require that trainer to be fully versed in the technology. Comprehensive online courses can cover technical topics in more depth and detail, and they can do it in 70% less time.

Students who learn manufacturing technology online are far better prepared to use their “hands” than students who learn in a classroom and lab setting.

Manufacturing technology is a river that runs wide and deep

In the IT world, a student many only have to learn a couple of programming languages to be job-ready. The breadth and depth of technology in manufacturing makes coding look easy. Most manufacturers can only dream about having the time and resources to teach all of the technology they use. The best solution for manufacturers is to look to external manufacturing skills training providers for scalable, consistent repositories of online courses that can be deployed 24/7.

Manufacturing really is cool – show them you mean it

As manufacturers struggle with how to make manufacturing jobs more attractive to the next-generation of workers, they need to show them that they have to learning tools to which they are accustomed. It’s how they want to learn. Pairing a twenty-something new hire with a thirty year incumbent for training is a recipe for disaster. The “old folks” simply don’t know how to engage the young people. In many cases they simply don’t have the patience. It doesn’t take long before the new hire realizes their fate is in the hands of someone who’s coasting to retirement and they bolt for the door.

We will be continually updating the results we see from our employer, academic and workforce partners so stay tuned in 2019. We think this will be a transformational year for manufacturers in terms of recruiting and training practices.

Joe Kitterman, CEO, 180 Skills

Dec 5 Earn-while-you-learn training provided by Wisconsin manufacturing company

Wisconsin Oven, an industrial oven manufacturer, has launched a collaboration with Gateway Technical College to set up a talent pipeline for itself, the company announced. The company has opened Wisconsin Oven Universal Training Center, where students can receive training and a paycheck. Wisconsin Oven will pay students $10 an hour while they complete their training. Wisconsin Oven will also pick up the costs of trainees’ first semester at Gateway.

Read more: Earn-while-you-learn training provided by Wisconsin manufacturing company


We are pleased to announce that we will be releasing new baseline skills courses for Microsoft Word in Q4, 2018. One in four job requirements in a technical job are “Baseline” skills. Baseline skills competencies cover a broad range of important, non-technical topics that are listed by employers as essential to job performance.

The current 180 Skills Course library contains 130 baseline skills courses in nine different competency topics. For more information see our latest Skills Course Catalog

Sep 13 It’s all about access

Letters from the field
Volume 2 – Number 1

It’s all about access

Give the non-traditional learner access to skills training and you’ll have all the skilled workers you need.

As you read the news that there are now more jobs than people to fill them, don’t panic. What you may not know is there are 76 million Americans who wish they had the skills to work for you.

Here are some facts that are important to understand as you make your human capital plans.

Read more

Apr 19 Great Content Matters

Letters from the field. Volume 1, Number 0.5

Joe Kitterman – CEO 180 Skills

One year ago I attended an education technology – workforce conference called CloseIT. This is one of the premier gatherings of movers and shakers in the edtech and workforce industry. Attendees included prominent workforce professionals, the blue chip foundations, venture capital companies, publishers, and providers of education technology. The conference also presents an opportunity for education technology companies to showcase their latest offerings. Read more