Distributor Discussion at Annual Conference Focuses on Workforce

A morning breakfast discussion session at this year’s NFPA Annual Conference featured tables focused around issues of importance to NFPA Councils…the Distributor Council, Pneumatics Council and Supplier Council.

The planned discussion topic for a table of the Distributor Council led by Jim Slone of SunSource was the “Biggest Challenge/Issue to Grow Your Business,” and the problem of finding and training people in the face of an aging workforce was without exception the biggest issue around the table.

Participants talked about ideas for reaching out to prospective employees and promoting careers in fluid power through college and high school science fairs, Boy Scouts, FIRST Robotics, and connecting with college internship programs. Having visibility and marketing through social media is important in connecting to young prospects as well. And all participants indicated they hire young people out of college and provide training, and the consensus among the group was that it’s important to hire people from schools within the market/area in which they are needed.

Finally, the group discussed NFPA’s outreach to schools at all levels to promote education and career opportunities in fluid power. NFPA has the services of two people in reaching out to schools through a variety of programs:

  • Lynn Beyer, Workforce Program Manager at NFPA, is responsible for building connections with High Schools and Middle Schools, largely through the Fluid Power Challenge; and also with 2 year Technical Schools.  (lbeyer@nfpa.com; 414-778-3364)
  • Alyssa Burger at the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power is working closely with NFPA, helping us reach out to 4-year colleges and universities. (alyssa@umn.edu; 612-624-4991)

NFPA Workforce Development programs include partnerships with the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) and the International Fluid Power Society (IFPS), and:

  • The Fluid Power Challenge, aimed at middle and high school students;
  • Student Career Connections Program, offering presentations on careers and class tours of facilities;
  • Teaching and Laboratory Grants;
  • Adopt-A-Lab Program, facilitating connections between companies and schools in support of lab equipment;
  • Senior Capstone Design Project Sponsorships;
  • Promotion of Student Internships; and
  • FIRST Robotics Mentoring.

Recent Posts

Episode 77: Electrification of Hydraulic Wheel Loaders Maintains Relevance of Fluid Power

This episode features Marty Christianson, the Market Manager for E-Mobility and AE Cooling Systems at HYDAC, and we invited him into our forum to learn more about E-Mobility and the electrification of off-highway hydraulic equipment.  Listen to Podcast Here This fluid power industry-focused podcast highlights the people, technologies and unique applications that are moving the industry…

Read More

NFPA Seeking Volunteers for Electrification in Fluid Power Task Force

Deadline to Respond is August 18, 2022 Electrification is a buzzword throughout most industries now and is a common topic being discussed at conferences, events, and board rooms. While many businesses and industries have already embraced electrification, others are still working to understand the impacts, opportunities, and decision points to make. To add further confusion,…

Read More

In Memoriam: Tom Wanke

The National Fluid Power Association is saddened to share the news that Tom Wanke, CFPE, director of the Fluid Power Industrial Consortium and Industry Relations at Milwaukee School of Engineering, passed away June 21, 2022. “Tom’s impact on the fluid power industry will be felt for generations,” said Eric Lanke, president and CEO of the…

Read More