Lean Blog Interviews — 453: Sarah Boisvert on New Collar Careers and the Need for 21st Century Apprenticeships

My guest for Episode #453 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Sarah Boisvert. She is the founder of New Collar Network and Fab Lab Hub

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Her career spans advanced “smart” manufacturing, art and music, and innovative workforce training. 

Her mission as part of the Fab Lab Network is to create pathways that often do not require college degrees to well-paying, engaging “New Collar” careers, utilizing disruptive technologies like 3D printing, laser machining, robotics, VR and AI/machine learning.

She’s joining us on the podcast from Albuquerque.

She is the author of the books The New Collar Workforce and People of the New Collar Workforce.

In collaboration with Santa Fe Community College, Boisvert also founded the New Collar Innovation Center at the Santa Fe Higher Education Center in 2021 to foster innovation in lifelong learning, New Collar workforce training, and the creation of 21st-century startups. 

Sarah is going to be part of a main stage keynote panel at the AME annual conference, being held in Dallas, October 17 to 20.

Joining Sarah on the panel are Deondra Wardelle, who was my guest in Episode 405, and also Amy Gowder, President and CEO of GE Aviation Military Systems Operations. I’m going to be moderating the panel.

Today, we discuss topics and questions including:

  • You’ve done many fascinating things in your career… but to ground the conversation, for this podcast, what was your first exposure to Lean manufacturing?
  • Deming?
  • Lean in your kitchen?– her choice, reducing frustration
  • “Lean is people centric”
  • You said in 2018: “U.S. manufacturing companies are expected to face a shortage of 2 million skilled workers by the year 2020.” — assume this came true? Made worse by the pandemic?
  • It’s worse, much worse than predicted?
  • A problem beyond manufacturing
  • For these new technologies…Which of those skills are most in short supply? 
  • What are the skills that “new collar” employees need to have… coming out of high school?
  • Problem solving — it CAN be taught
  • As you shared on LinkedIn… “General Motors is expanding hiring requirements to skills, not just degrees!  
  • Give an example of how “degree creep” causes problems?
  • Working with Los Alamos National Laboratories to also change hiring policies?
  • As an expert in 3D printing, how do you help companies decide when 3D printing isn’t just “cool” but is actually more effective and the preferred choice?
  • Are your earrings 3d printed? YES
  • What are the benefits of 3D printing??
  • There are people in Dallas working on a 3D-printed house? Concrete?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network