A 2010 graduate of Ferris State University’s Industrial Technology Management program had a cameo in a “60 Minutes” segment on employment issues in the manufacturing industry.
The segment, “Three Million Open Jobs,” aired Sunday, Nov. 11 on the award-winning CBS news program. The report by correspondent Byron Pitts suggests millions of jobs go unfilled because employers can’t find qualified workers.
One of the companies Pitts visited was manufacturing giant Alcoa’s aerospace plant in Whitehall, where Rodney Coley of Muskegon is employed. Alcoa, one of the largest and oldest companies in the United States, produces parts that make jet engines more fuel efficient.
During the report, CEO Klaus Kleinfeld tells Pitts that Alcoa’s competitive edge is innovation, backed by a skilled workforce. That means hiring educated employees and retraining current ones to keep up with advances in technology. The company helped pay for Coley, who X-rays parts to make sure they are perfect before they leave the factory, to go back to school.
Coley earned his Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Industrial Technology and Management from Ferris through Muskegon Community College. The program is designed to complement previous training in a technical area.
Coley’s success is a perfect example of the Ferris program at work, said coordinator Joe Joyce.
“As upgrades are made in technology, upgrades must be made in the skill set, and that is done through education,” Joyce said. “It paid off for Rod, and it’s what I hope for all of my students.”
During the “60 Minutes” report, correspondent Pitts asks Coley “What do you say to friends and relatives who may be looking for a job?”
“Well, me, personally, I say ‘Get your education,’” Coley answered.