Notes From CFESA
New Collar Jobs and Our Industry—By Gary Potvin, CFESA President
For many years we have defined jobs in two categories: blue collar (a working-class person who performs non-agricultural manual labor) and white collar (a person who performs professional, managerial or administrative work).
Recently a new term has come about to fit a category of workers that directly impacts our industry: New Collar (workers who are middle-class wage earners holding jobs in a service industry).
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty used the term in an open letter to (then) President-elect Donald Trump on November 14, 2016. I found the letter fascinating and couldn’t help but link it to the foodservice industry. Our industry has taken a major shift recently towards this definition of New Collar worker due to the advancement of technology. Gone are the days of hiring a technician with basic electrical and mechanical skills to work on food equipment. This specific field now requires computer skills, diagnostic capabilities, electrical mastery, and meticulous mechanical aptitude, along with customer service skills. Equipment dealers need certified installers instead of a delivery person. I’m quite certain that all facets of our industry have a need for these New Collar workers.
The challenge we face now is, how do we find these workers? And where do they get the training? The vocational schools supply some training for only a small segment of our industry. The majority of the training has fallen on the shoulders of the companies that provide the service or manufacture the products. Marketing strategies are needed to educate young workers that New Collar jobs are in high demand. On average the entry-level pay scale is higher than in entry-level white collar jobs, and provides immediate employment without the high cost of a four-year college degree.
In the last six years, CFESA has been working to help bridge the gap in the education of New Collar workers with our Training Facility located in Fort Mill, S.C. The facility conducts training for technicians and administrative personal that fit the terminology of New Collar worker. Educating the general public about all of the foodservice industry segments and generating excitement about these career opportunities should be a priority for all of us this year!
The calendar and signup form for making reservations at CFESA’s World Headquarters & Global Training Facility is on CFESA’s website.