Skilled Worker Shortages in Oregon

By August 16, 2006General

Spotting a noteworthy trend, The Oregonian elaborates on the recent L.A. Times’ report on the nationwide shortage of skilled workers faced by manufacturers. (We cited that excellent Times article here.) Brent Huntsberger writes the estimable “At Work” blog for The Oregonian, and in this entry he reports the experience of the railcar manufacturer, Gunderson.

Scott Eave, vice president for human resources at Gunderson Inc. in Portland, says the railcar and barge manufacturer recently began offering $50 recruitment bonuses to employees who successfully referred a friend to work at the 1,300-employee plant. “I’ve been here 30 years and I’ve never seen it like this before,” Eave told me recently. “We’re turning over rocks we’ve never discovered” looking for workers. He thinks the region’s construction boom might be sapping the area’s labor pool.

Brent is soliciting examples of similar shortages (from Oregon and southwestern Washington, we assume). Indeed, the lack of skilled manufacturing workers is a good story for reporters to localize, with implications for education, the economy and government spending. We’ll keep you posted on the coverage.

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