Congratulations to Ron Bullock, an NAM board member, and all the good people at Bison Gear and Engineering for drawing the attention of CBS Evening News this week.
The issue? Skills gap, the lack (and lack of interest) of prospective employees to fill the many open positions in the high-tech manufacturing sector.
CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers visited Bison’s facility in St. Charles, Illinois:
Employees at Bison Gear and Engineering makes motors for everything from dialysis machines to ice-cream makers. The company has all the orders it can fill. What it can’t fill is jobs.
“We have about a half-a-dozen openings right now,” said Bison owner Ron Bullock. “The business is there, and we have the capacity to expand it.”
Bison isn’t alone. With half the nation’s 14 million manufacturing workers nearing retirement, 90 percent of America’s manufacturers say they are short qualified workers.
CBS and Bison both highlight the steps manufacturers are taking to address this shortage — no passivity and complaining, but action. From Bison Gear and Engineering:
As a result of Bullock’s concern with the quality of secondary education and the shortage of skilled entry-level workers in manufacturing, in 2007 Bison Gear announced its Skilled Workforce Initiative. In the initiative, manufacturing leaders, educational institutions, economic and workplace development organizations came together to create a talent pool of better qualified employees with plans to offer long term stable employment.
Again, congrats and thanks for spreading the word. And congratulations also to Ron for becoming the new chairman of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
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