More Proof that Investment Follows the Workforce

The conventional view that we hear now and again is that manufacturing is not a good place for a career because manufacturing jobs are subject to layoffs. The headlines about job cuts at GM and Ford add to this misinformation.

Misinformation? Whoa….what misinformation?

The misinformation is that manufacturing alone is somehow subject to layoffs, yet we pick up a paper and see layoffs from time to time in nearly every industry. Hospitals and telecomm service providers merge and there are layoffs. A few days ago, it was all about layoffs at NBC. The dynamics of the American economy result in layoffs in many industries from time to time.

That’s balanced by new hirings, which of course are rarely covered by the press because that good news is somehow deemed not to be important. But that’s where the real story lies. Manufacturers today are seeking skilled talent to replace retiring Baby Boomers and to expand in this robust economic recovery. But often they can’t find the workers they need.

We have fresh evidence from Florida that manufacturers are going where the skilled labor is available. And if its not in the state where they produce, they will go elsewhere. Just click on this link and check out this story from the St. Petersburg Times. It quotes the Manufacturers Association of Florida as saying they are tired of seeing business leave the state because they can’t locate enough skilled workers. Moreover, the article discusses an excellent state initiative to remedy this problem with the new Employ Florida Banner Center for Manufacturing. It will help educators and employers better train workers for manufacturing jobs.

Not only that, it is one of the first program in the country that will prepare workers for the new national certification test created by the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council. As NAM president John Engler said about the MSSC standards, “Introduction of this certification program underscores growing recognition that America must do a better job of training and educating our workforce to remain competitive in the global economy.” (For more on these standards, click here).

Florida is looking ahead and building a pipeline for the future. Kudos to the state’s manufacturers and state government for seeing this challenge and addressing it. And kudos to the St. Petersburg Times for giving it coverage.