Hunting Hard for Manufacturing Workers

By August 6, 2007Education and Training

There is much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth about the exodus of manufacturing jobs to other countries, but the reality is that U.S. manufacturers all over the country are desperately looking for qualified workers – and can’t find them. The New York Times on Sunday (story here) offered an excellent example from the Bronx where Felix Storch, Inc., a company that customizes refrigerators, is being forced to outsource to factories in Connecticut and Mexico. The company is growing. It hit $30 million in sales last year and needs qualified employees but they aren’t there. “We have been desperate for skilled help,” said company spokesman Paul Storch. “Some Bronx high school graduates can’t do simple math and have trouble using a tape measure to find the midpoint. If they don’t have the skills to drill, and make a mistake, we have to throw away a $500 refrigerator.”

Storch does not want to outsource work. “We prefer to do it here because we can offer two-day delivery versus two weeks,” he said. “If I outsource, you may not buy from me.”

Storch is investing $374,100 of his company’s money in an on-site training program for area workers, and the New York City Department of Small Business Services is chipping in $243,900. But we are left to wonder about public schools producing high school graduates who cannot perform simple math. Our public schools are failing big time. It’s a national disgrace.

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