Clamoring For Workers

By August 14, 2006General

Here at the NAM we often talk of the “Skills Gap,” the inability of manufacturers to hire employees with adequate knowledge, training and skills. As technology advances and baby boomers retire, employers struggle to find workers able to handle the new, advanced manufacturing processes.

Employers’ frustration, employees’ boon. For young workers seeking a challenging and well-compensated job, manufacturing is the way to go.

The Los Angeles Times reports on these issues today on its front page in, Factory Shift: Manufacturers Struggle to Fill Highly Paid Jobs.

Some manufacturers are so desperate for workers who can program, run or repair the computers and robots that now dominate the factory floor that they are offering recruitment bonuses, relocation packages and other incentives more common to white-collar jobs.

In Ohio, American Micro Products Inc., an electrical parts maker, is offering $1,000 bonuses to workers who recruit technicians, and it is covering moving costs for the new employees. In San Antonio, Toyota cannot find enough qualified applicants for skilled positions at its new plant, even after the state sponsored a training program. In Fontana, California Steel Industries Inc. found it so hard to fill five mechanical and technical positions, some paying $28 an hour, that managers started paying employees to train for the unfilled jobs.

Using the experience of a recent Minneapolis high school graduate as an illustration, the Times traces the thought processes that go into the decision to choose manufacturing as a career, and the ways that employers and educators are helping to make that choice a positive one. Anyway, an excellent story by Washington bureau reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske, with nice coverage on NAM member EJ. Ajax & Sons.

To read more on the Skills Gap, including the 2005 NAM report referred to in the LA Times story, please start with our news release here. The full report in .pdf format is available here.

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