Column Training Workforce

Working With Local Schools

EP Editorial Staff | November 20, 2020

Partnering with local and state educational institutions, mentor programs, and plant tours put your company in the business of connecting with the community and promoting business opportunities.

By Jon Sillerud, Uponor North America

Finding talent for a skilled workforce continues to be a challenge for most industries across the United States. Here’s a way to select from a moldable talent pool and give them a strong start at the beginning of their careers.

Find the right partners

Whether it’s a local high school, trade school, or university, partnering with these institutions can reap benefits far beyond acquiring a few good employees. Getting your company name known in these communities will strengthen your brand and keep a steady stream of potential workers coming through your doors for years to come.

How do you begin a strong partnership? There are many government programs that focus on partnering businesses and industry. For example, in my state of Minnesota, we have the Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership Program through the Department of Employment and Economic Development. This program offers grants to educational institutions that partner with businesses to develop on-the-job training for new employees.

Develop a strategy

At Uponor, we do more than just partner with educational institutions through government programs. We have a strategy that keeps a strong relationship with our community. That includes being mentors to local high school students, opening our doors to provide factory tours, and creating showcase panels of employees to speak with students curious about jobs in our industry.

This involvement keeps us close to our community and provides an avenue for potential candidates to learn about career opportunities and how we can help provide a lifetime of successful, rewarding work.

Stay engaged

The best way to increase the potential for a steady stream of good candidates coming through your doors is to stay engaged in your strategy to partner with educational institutions, government programs, and the community.

Staying engaged will not only prove to be worth your time and effort in the short term, but also deliver greater success in the long term with a stronger workforce that provides greater returns well into the future. EP

Jon Sillerud is Vice President, Operations, for Uponor North America, Apple Valley, MN ( Reach him at

For more about workforce development strategies and techniques, watch our webinar presented by Jon Sillerud. You can view the presentation at


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